Transfer Contacts from/to Microsoft Outlook

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 12 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

A very good friend of mine wanted to know how to transfer contacts he kept in Outlook from one computer to another. Another thought is that you can export as a Comma Separated Values (Windows) file instead of a Personal Folder File (.pst) . You can then open the file up in Excel and delete the rows Bob doesn’t need/want. Save as a CSV again and Bob can then import that. Note: I created this walk-through based on Microsoft Outlook 2003. However, this method should also work for other versions of Outlook as well (excluding Outlook Web Access).


  1. Click File> Import and Export…
  2. Select Export to a file and then click Next >
  3. Select Personal Folder File (.pst) and then click Next >
  4. Select the Contacts folder and then click Next >
  5. Click Browse… and select the location where you want to save the file (I would suggest the desktop) and click OK.
  6. Set the options as you see fit, then click Finish.
  7. A window called Create Microsoft Personal Folders will come up. You can just click OK.
  8. Transfer file to Bob.


  1. After receiving file from Alice, click File> Import and Export…
  2. Select Import from another program or file and click Next >
  3. Select Personal Folder File (.pst) and then click Next >
  4. Click Browse… and select the file that Jeff gave you and click OK.
  5. Set the options as you see fit for importing regarding duplicates, then click Next >.
  6. Select the Contacts folder and click Finish.
  7. You may get an warning mentioning something about Unicode. You can disregard this warning and click OK.

Updated 12/19/2008: Please note: I actually don’t use Outlook 2007 (well, I don’t use any version of Outlook), so I can’t really help many of you. I do read every comment posted and if I know the answer, I’ll post it. You’re still welcome to post here and other may be able to help you, otherwise I’d suggest you call Microsoft for more support. If, by some miracle, this page is helpful to you, please consider making a donation to my coffee break fund.

Updated 8/5/2009: Please only send me an email if you are intent on hiring my services to help you.


36 thoughts on “Transfer Contacts from/to Microsoft Outlook”

  1. Very helpful and easy to follow even for a non-computer person like me (who accidentally deleted all her contacts while moving from one computer to another…). Thank you!

  2. I tried to import my contact list from a backup cd. I did as described above but got a message that I am not “authorized.” This is my laptop and I am the only user. Any ideas?


  3. I have outlook 2007 and it blocks .pst files automatically. I can’t open the file. What can I do to trasfer my contacts?

    Please help… Bob

  4. for those that are blocked from importing .pst files, I had to copy them onto my computer before I could import them into the program, Originally i had tried to make them shared on the network and read them off my desktop computer onto my laptop. It was not until I copies the file to my laptop that I was ‘allowed’ to import them into Outlook 2007

  5. Having read your transfer advice above it would seem that it relates to the transfer of the contents of the “complete” Contacts folder.

    I have several folders of business contacts that I have retained from the past (in a renamed .pst file) and now wish to urgently be able to use these within the current Outlook Contact folder.
    To do this I think that I need to be able to transfer (export) just that one sub-folder of contacts from the old file to the current one – not the whole contacts folder.

    Is there some way that I can do this?

    Any help and advice that you can give woould be vvery much appreciated

    John Webley

    1. To John Webley re your entry of 11/2/2008:
      Did you ever find out how to export selected sub-folders from your Contacts folder?
      Janet B.

  6. Brilliant!!!!!! I’m a non-techie person, but this worked!!!! I was transferring contacts from my old computer to a new one, using Outlook 2007. Other help sites I’d tried had me making a .csv file… but this (.pst) did the trick. I wish I knew enough to help those who didn’t succeed – – I may have just been lucky. At any rate, MANY thanks!!!!

  7. This is getting crazier all the time… When I go to Tools > Address Book my contacts are there. BUT, when I go to Contacts (and I like to view them as Business cards), all the cards are now blank (altho they were all complete earlier). Any helpful info?

  8. Well, I definitely wasn’t exaggerating when I said I was non-techie… you won’t believe this, but I tried it again. from scratch.. and now it is working!! Go figure..

  9. What I did was export the .pst folder to my external hd. Switched hd to new computer but also was not “authorized” to import contacts. After flipping out a little bit, I followed Myles Moriarty’s advice and copied the .pst folder from ext hd to desktop. From the copied file on the desktop I was able to import my contacts. Mahalo, Mr. Moriarty! Saved me a lot of typing!

    1. Great trick !

      Amazing this couldn’t work otherwise. I had the same pb and you saved my day. Why can’t Microsoft avoid this sort of absurdities ?????

  10. This was so easy. I was getting ready to send all of the contacts from one email account to the other but in this day and age figured there had to be an easier way. Thanks for saving me from a bottle of Tylenol…..


  11. John Webley, I know very little, but I just used Andrew’s instructions to share contacts on MS office Outlook 2007 and when you do what he said, you have the opportunity to choose what folder files to export/import. I’d say try it… do the steps and when you get to that step, browse and see if you can find the file you want and go from there. Seems to me it’s possible to do what you want to do.

  12. Trying to IMPORT my CONTACTS AND E-MAILS/FOLDERS from #1 computer (Outlook 2003) to #2 computer (Outlook 2007). When I try to open Import/Export I get this message: “Outlook cannot start the Import/Export Engine”. “To make this feature available , run settup again, click “Add or Remove Features” and change the features to “Run from My Computer”.
    I did this and it still won’t work. I tried copying my files from a “flash drive” right onto #2 computer and this won’t work either.
    Thanks, Dom

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  14. I wish to copy my work computer contacts to my home computer and wish to keep them separate – I would appreciate advise on how this might be done when importing pst files?



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  16. I used your instructions and was quickly successful in moving my entire Outlook address book to my laptop. My problem is moving just a folder and its contents, not the entire address book. Any ideas?
    I also tried to attach the .pst file to an email but Outlook would not allowit. I had to use a data stick to phyically move the file. Again, any ideas?

  17. Following this advice: importing a contact list from another computer duplicated all the contacts!!

    Then I tried to clean up by catagorizing the first set of contacts, then adding a separate contact list and reimporting the list, nope didn’t work.

    So… I eventually LOST ALL MY records, you moron!
    Why don’t you (if you are a true professional)or someone think through typical, normal uses of these tools and give C-o-m-p-l-e-t-e advice.

    1. Wow … sounds like you really got burned. I suggest that you demand your money back. How much did you pay him btw? Next time why don’t you pay a professional to personally take care of your every need, otherwise you may find yourself having problems with a moron everywhere you are.

    2. hey idiot theres an option that says would you like to replace all duplicaed items. maybe if you read things thoroughly you wouldnt have that problem.

  18. Hi,
    Excellent advice, I had always wondered if it was possible to transfer my address books.. in the past all I could do was print them out then laboriously re type them into the new computer.. You gave excellent step by step instructions and it worked like a dream saving me hours.. Thank you so much.. A pot of hot steaming coffee will be here anytime you are passing Kind regards.. John 🙂

    p.s. How on earth the idiot above managed to lose all of his files I have no idea.. The original file remains as and where it is?? Only a copy of it is transferred to the new computer.. He is the MORON! If he can’t follow your simple “Idiot Proof” instructions he is obviously incapable of using a computer!.. 🙂

    1. what about on Office 2010? I’ve always used the import/export tab but on the new office, it’s not there! I hope they didn’t do away with this valuable feature!

  19. Brian Forbes Colgate

    Hi, Andrew …

    MS Outlook Help was of little use on this topic, and when I Googled Outlook 2007 transfer contacts, your entry here was the first one that looked of interest.

    Thanks VERY VERY much for this … the technique worked like a charm for me, using MS Outlook 2007. Our ISP forced us to move to Outlook from the EudoraPro that I’ve been using since release 0.1 Beta … It’s a fairly painful process to have to rebuild the address books, but once I’ve done a section, I’ve used your instructions to successfully copy them — every time — to my wife’s computer on the home network. The only thing Outlook forced me to do was quit before I moved the file that I’d exported. This is a typical MS trait, though … if the program is not closed it still holds the files it has used, even if the file has been closed.

    I have close to 4,000 mail folders in Eudora, and I think they are just going to remain there as historical data … I won’t try to rebuild those from scratch!

    I’ll be glad to buy you coffee next time I’m in Seattle …


  20. XOXOXO Andrew 🙂

    thanks a million, It worked like a charm!
    If I can do this WITHOUT losing a SINGLE comma and full stop then anyone can!! ( with the exception of QEWFP! — thats neanderthal territory !)
    I successfully transferred ALL my info – not just contacts — from windows 03 to 07 without a hitch. Just took a little time with the old girl, but the new spring chicken whizzed by in a green flash.
    Brian is right – MS outlook help didnt yield any info on moving items, it just swiftly referred me to ur page. LOL and this new fancy windows 07 /10 has an EASY TRANSFER fnc and HOMEGROUP connection — that ” cannot be established by this version of windows ” huh!! :-/
    Tx agn.

  21. Thanks………. Using the above mentioned instructions, I was able to move all the contacts to my new laptop in no time…….

  22. Thanks Andrew. Seems the transfer worked, to a point. All my email folders are on the other computer and most things in order. However, while my contacts (left column) display all my ‘Contacts’ in the right column, when it I try to send an email there’s a problem. I click on the ‘To’ button my choice is limited to ‘My Contacts’ where there is only 4. All the personal. business, entertainment (etc) contacts are not available from the ‘To’ button.
    Any thought on why all the contacts (in their folders) are in Outlook, but can’t be accessed via the ‘To’ button when trying to send an email out?
    Appreciate your expertise on this one after clicking my way around in circles to find the fault.
    Thank you.
    Raymond via email…

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