In office 2010 there is a simple way of importing your contacts which is an incredibly useful feature, especially in business where you may  be constantly collected new contact details from people. You can import contacts in a number of ways, but the most common file type is CSV (comma seperated values). With your file saved this way, you can also use it to import into many other mail clients and various other bits of software too.

Saving a CSV file

So the first step is to populate your spreadsheet and save it in CSV format. When populating your spreadsheet, try to make sure that your column headings are quite generic so that Outlook will easily recognise which column is which. If possible, try to use the exact same headings that are used in your address book.

When you are done, click the File > Save As and then browse and select the location to save the file. Type a file name and then choose ‘CSV’ from the ‘Save as Type’ drop down box. Once this is done, you are ready to import your CSV File into Outlook

Importing your CSV file

Open Outlook 2010 and click the File > Open > Import. The import and export Wizard will then open and run.

Select the option to ‘import from another program or file’. Click ‘next’.

Now choose the type of file and select ‘Comma Separated Values (Windows)’ and click ‘next’.

Next you need to browse to the location of your saved file, click on it and press ‘ok’. Here you can also choose options for importing any duplicate contact details that are in your spreadsheet. You can either overwrite exisiting contacts in your address book with the option ‘replace duplicates with items imported’ or choose to not import any duplicates at all. Click ‘next’.

Now you need to choose the destination folder for your contacts. Outlook will have a ‘contacts’ folder which is the usual place for storing this information, you can however put the file in which ever folder you wish. Select the desired location and click ‘next’.

In the final step, you can confirm or cancel the import. At this point you can change the destination folder or map custom fields. It is necessary to map fields if your column headings in the spreadsheet are different to those in Outlook. With this option, you can tell Outlook which information is stored in which column of your spreadsheet so that when it is imported into your contacts, the correct information is stored in each field. When you are done, click ‘finish’ and that’s all there is to it! Your Excel sheet contacts will be imported to your destination folder.

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