How to import contacts to Outlook from Excel in 3 steps

In this article, I'll show you how to import contacts from Excel to Outlook. You'll find three easy steps for getting your contacts exported. Convert your data to .csv format, import them to Outlook with a special wizard and match Excel headers to the corresponding fields.

Excel is a convenient place for storing your contact details. You can process your data in many different ways: merge several files with emails, delete duplicates, update fields in all items simultaneously, combine several contacts into one, benefit from using formulas and sorting options. After your data are shaped the way you need, you can export contacts from Excel to Outlook. There are three main steps you need to follow:

Tip. More ways to import contacts are described in Importing contacts into Outlook from CSV or PST file.

Prepare your Excel contact data for being imported to Outlook

The easiest way to get your contacts ready for adding from Excel to Outlook is to save the workbook in CSV format. This approach works for any version of Office and lets you forget about some issues like named ranges or blank contacts.

  1. In your workbook, open the worksheet with the contact details you want to import to Outlook.
    Open the worksheet with the contact details you want to import
  2. Click File and select the Save As option.
    Select the Save As option under File
  3. Pick a location for saving your file.
  4. You will see the Save As dialog box. Choose the option CSV (Comma delimited) from the Save as type drop-down list and press Save.
    Choose the option CSV (Comma delimited) from the Save as type drop-down list
  5. You will see the following message from Excel: The selected file type does not contain workbooks that contain multiple sheets.
    You will see this message trying to save a book with multiple sheets as CSV file

    This message tells you about the limitation of the CSV file. Please don't worry, your original workbook will stay as is. Just click OK.

  6. After clicking OK, you are likely to see another message saying: Some features in your workbook might be lost if you save it as CSV (Comma delimited).
    See the message Some features in your workbook might be lost if you save it as CSV

    This info-notification can be ignored. Thus, you can click Yes to get your current worksheet saved in the CSV format. The original workbook (the .xlsx file) will be closed and you may also notice that the name of your current sheet will change.

  7. Close your new CSV file.

Now you are ready to add contacts to Outlook.

Import contacts from Excel to Outlook

On this step you'll see how to import contacts from Outlook to Excel using the Import and Export Wizard.

  1. Open Outlook, go to File > Open & Export and click the option Import/Export.
    Click the option Import/Export
  2. You'll get Import and Export Wizard. Select the option Import from another program or file and then click the Next button.
    Select the option Import from another program or file
  3. On the Import a File step of the wizard, pick Comma Separated Values and click Next.
    Pick Comma Separated Values
  4. Click on the Browse button and find the .csv file you want to import.

    On this step you will also see radio buttons under Options allowing you to not import duplicates, replace existing contacts or create the duplicated items. If you happened to export your contact information to Excel and want to import them back to
    Outlook, please make sure to select the very first radio button.
    Pick Comma Separated Values

  5. Click the Next button to pick the destination for your emails. The Contacts folder should be selected by default. If it's not, you can scroll up or down to locate the file. It's also possible to choose a different folder.
    Pick the Contacts folder
  6. After clicking Next, you'll see the checkbox Import "Your File Name.csv" into folder: Contacts. Please make sure to select it.
    Tick the checkbox Import 'Your File Name.csv' into folder: Contacts

Please don't click Finish yet. You'll need to associate some of the columns in your CSV file to the contact fields in Outlook. This will import your contacts from Excel to Outlook exactly as you want. Keep reading to get the steps.

Match Excel columns to the corresponding Outlook fields

To make sure that the details from your imported contacts appear in the corresponding fields in Outlook, use the Map Custom Fields dialog box on the last step of Import and Export Wizard.

  1. Select Import "Your File Name.csv" into folder: Contacts to activate the button Map Custom Fields.... Click on this button to see the corresponding dialog box appear.
    Click on the Map Custom Fields button
  2. You'll see the From: and To: panes on the Map Custom Fields dialog. From: contains the column headers from your CSV file. Under To, you'll see the standard Outlook fields for contacts. If a field matches a column in the CSV file, you'll see your column under Mapped from.
    See the From: and To: sections on the Map Custom Fields dialog
  3. The fields Name, First Name, and Last Name are standard Outlook fields, so if the contact details in your file have any of those contact names, you can proceed.
  4. You'll probably also need to do some manual mapping. For example, in your file the contact's phone is in the column Phone number. Outlook has numerous fields for phone numbers, such as Business, Home, Car and so on. So you can find a suitable match by scrolling within the To: pane.
    Scroll down in the To: pane and find the necessary Phone option
  5. When you find the correct option, for example, Business Phone, just select Phone number under From. Then drag and drop it to Business Phone in the To: pane.
    Map the field by drag-n-dropping

    Now you can see the Phone number column header next to the Business Phone field.
    see the Phone number column header next to the Business Phone field

  6. Drag the other items from the left pane to the suitable Outlook fields and click Finish.

Your contacts are successfully added into Outlook from Excel.

Now you know how to export Excel contacts to Outlook 2010-2013. You just need to create a .csv file with the emails, import it to Outlook and map the corresponding fields. If you come across any difficulty when adding the contacts, feel free to post your question below. That's all for today. Be happy and excel in Excel.

Table of contents


  1. I transferred my contacts from Thunderbird to Outlook. Here are the field-name mappings I used (above, this is Step 5 of "Match Excel columns to the corresponding Outlook fields"):

    First Name ==> First Name
    Last Name ==> Last Name
    Display Name ==> E-mail Display Name
    Nickname ==> User 2
    Primary Email ==> E-mail Address
    Secondary Email ==> E-mail 2 Address
    Screen Name ==> User 1
    Work Phone ==> Business Phone
    Home Phone ==> Home Phone
    Fax Number ==> Business Fax
    Pager Number ==> Pager
    Mobile Number ==> Mobile Phone
    Home Address ==> Home Street
    Home Address 2 ==> Home Street 2
    Home City ==> Home City
    Home State ==> Home State
    Home ZipCode ==> Home Postal Code
    Home Country ==> Home Country/Region
    Work Address ==> Business Street
    Work Address 2 ==> Business Street 2
    Work City ==> Business City
    Work State ==> Business State
    Work ZipCode ==> Business Postal Code
    Work Country ==> Business Country/Region
    Job Title ==> Job Title
    Department ==> Department
    Organization ==> Company
    Web Page 1 ==> Web Page
    Web Page 2 ==> User 3
    Birth Year ==>
    Birth Month ==> User 4
    Birth Day ==> Birthday
    Custom 1 ==>
    Custom 2 ==>
    Custom 3 ==>
    Custom 4 ==>
    Notes ==> Notes

    Note: Birthday information is a problem. Thunderbird stores it in three fields, namely "Birth Year", "Birth Month", and "Birth Day" (i.e., day of the month), while Outlook stores it as a single field, "Birthday". The mapping shown above moves the day of the month into Outlook's "Birthday" field and the month into the "User 4" field; this at least preserves some of the information, but it's hardly a good solution, since you have to know how to interpret the numbers that are now in those fields. I don't see a good solution here if you have a lot of birthday information you want to transfer manually. If you have only a few birthdays you care about, you can add those birthdays manually to Outlook once the automatic transfer is complete. If you have a lot, you're probably better off getting one of the free transfer apps available on the web. (But with free apps, I always worry about malware....)

  2. When I went through this process , and selected the destination folder "Contacts", and completed the mapping, I am unable to find or see the contact that i just imported in my Outlook . where is it? the excel file used to create the outlook contact is named Current customers csv 01212020. I don't see it.

    • Same here, seems a waste of time this section of the page if no one gives an answer. Fine for people to post saying how wonderful it is but really these forums should be about helping each other not blowing smoke up the backside of the page author

  3. Thank you!

  4. This was a great help to me. Thank you so very much.

  5. When I go to file, Open, I do not get import/export they are on separate and I do not get the import/export wizard to try to import contacts. Don't know??

  6. I clicked finish before mapping can I change or undo

  7. Thank you very much for your help on transfer from excel to outlook. It was excellent instructions on a problem that I had spent a couple of hours of frustration trying to resolve

  8. This is not working. I only get """""""" in the "FROM" values. All info appears in the "Full Nmae" field in the Contact. Even the headings are created as a contact.

  9. Thank you! Your instructions were quite precise and extremely thorough. I was able to successfully import contacts.

  10. Can you set this up so that it can refresh with newly added contacts and emails or will you have to re done this every time?

  11. Thanks!!! I tried a dozen of suggested ways but only yours worked!

  12. Hi,

    In my excel sheet I have several columns I put into the 'notes' section when I add a contact manually. Is there a way to do this using this importing feature?


  13. Hi,

    your explanations are good and clear. I have problems with point 2. Outlook does not recognises the different fields/columns of the csv file. It only recognises all 4 columns (first name, last name, organisaiton, mail address) as only one field and thus puts all the information in the title of the contact card in outlook.
    What can I change on my csv file to make it recognisable to outlook?

    Thanks, S.

  14. thank you for making our life easy and happy! keep on helping spreading good knowledge! God Bless

  15. Need recognised headers for all columns if it's to be a recognised file structure!!!

  16. Is it possible to have the destination be a specific group in the contacts?

  17. I GIVE UP. I will have to just copy and paste I have been working on this for days, researching and researching still nothing works.

  18. Me too followed your step by step and still doesn't import my email address to Outlook

  19. Very clear instructions - easy to follow. Worked a treat saving me hours of copy and paste xx

    • how did you get it to work I have tried every step and can't get my values to change at all.

  20. can we change the field name?

  21. Very clear instructions, thanks. How can I create a separate sub-folder in the "contacts" folder to accommodate the newly imported data?

  22. Very useful info, thanks

  23. I followed the instructions and everything came out ok. Only when I open a contact I see the zip code is before the city and state in the card. How can I change that?

  24. My question was how to import from Excel
    This post is showing how to import from CSV.
    It is not the same thing.
    When saving an Excel file into CSV format, there is a big warning box advising that some features will be lost.
    I do not want to lose those features so that I will not end up with names such as Lud?k Jurkech instead of Luděk Jurkech.
    an alternative answer to my question would be how to control the code-page used by CSV files

    • Zork that doesn't matter you just say okay but I get stuck at the last step in Outlook.

  25. Works in Outlook 2010..Thanks for sharing

  26. When I import from excel I not only get the contacts but also a ton of blank contacts. Is there a way of having the import only grab the cells that have names and not blank cells? Thanks

  27. Thank you very much. Nicely detailed

  28. I have 21 contacts and only 5 of them will import. Is there a limit of 5? How do I get all 21 in the same group?

  29. Hello I do get the same error as Steve and Hany; "Each time I get the message at the end saying, [Outlook could not complete the operation because the service provider does not support it]" Is there another way around it?

  30. given error message

    could not complete the operation because the service provider dose not support it

    any help?

  31. I have tried this many times. Even set up a dummy spreadsheet.

    Each time I get the message at the end saying, [Outlook could not complete the operation because the service provider does not support it]

    I use Office365 and constantly have the most up-to-date versions.

    This always worked fine in office 2010.

    Any ideas? Thanks :)

    • Following. I've wasted 2 days trying to figure this out and I get the same error message. If you have the solution please let me know!

      • Try saving the outlook document and closing the file. It worked for me. Also, I think data needs to be formatted as a table in outlook.

  32. Thanks for making this so easy. I spent at least 30 min trying to do it through Microsoft and was unsuccessful. This instruction was easy to follow and worked perfectly!

  33. Is there any way to save the mapping so I don't need to repeat the field mapping process? What is the purpose of the Default Map button? Can I create a custom default map?

  34. This was very helpful thank you very much

  35. Hello, thanks for this clear instruction. Unfortunately I have tried everything, but all values on the left hand side are aligned into one line/field. I have tried several times by changing the regional settings/list seperator but nothing works (I followed all steps mentioned here: But nothing seems to work.) Any idea what it could be?

    • I have the same problem too

        • This is not the answer to the question.
          I get one line With all the Fields from EXCEL. Not the own shown above With one Field per line.
          How to get MY Fields on separate lines? Otherwise, it will not work.

          • I found out. Just use Notpad en replace all ; (semicolons) With , (comma) and it worked :-)

            • So then I ran into anothe problem. Which many has With Outlook. The contacts file disappeared. It is nowhere to be found. I can see it when copy TO:, but i cannot see it in the address list.

            • Hi Martin
              I've run into the same problem. I too get one line with all the fields from EXCEL. Not one Field per line. Can I ask how you used txt to solve this please?

            • Hi Martin,
              I have the same problem that you had. How did you manage to fix this?

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