Thursday, March 1, 2007

Moving contacts from Excel into Outlook


By David Gewirtz

Reader Richard B. Newbert of Keller Williams (no, not that Keller Williams) Commercial Real Estate asks:

Is there any way to import an Excel File containing names, email addresses (and phone, fax and address) information directly into Outlook to create individual contact address files?

But, of course. It's pretty easy, too.

The Excel phase

Start in Excel. Make sure your worksheet is open, and then select all the names (along with their supporting information). Then, name the selection, as shown in Figure A.


Name this selection. (click for larger image)

As you can see in the figure, you can give the selection a name, which you type in the box in the upper-left corner of the window. Being the highly creative folks we are, we named it "OutlookNames".

Hit return (to make sure the naming sticks), and then save your Excel file. Finally, quit Excel. This step is important because Outlook can't open the file to import the names if Excel already has the file open.

The Outlook phase

The rest of the work will be done in Outlook, and all you've got is a series of dialog boxes to travel through. First, under the File menu, select Import and Export->Outlook, as shown in Figure B.


Tell Outlook you want to import something. (click for larger image)

Next up, you'll want to tell Outlook that you're importing from another program or file, as shown in Figure C.


You're about to import from another program or file. (click for larger image)

Hitting Next brings you to the dialog shown in Figure D. Here, you'll want to tell Outlook to import from an Excel file.


Import from Excel. (click for larger image)

Hit Next again, and this time specify the file you want to import by clicking the Browse button, as shown in Figure E.


Select your file. (click for larger image)

Notice that you've got three options that all pertain to how Outlook manages duplicates. Pick the choice you prefer and then click Next.