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Import or link to contacts from an Outlook address book

Applies to: Access for Microsoft 365, Access 2019, Access 2016, Access 2013, Access 2010, Access 2007.

Access and Outlook are both amazing programmes for managing your personal and business contacts. As a result, you are more inclined to import or link to contact data from Outlook into Access.

For more information about the reverse procedure (exporting contacts from Access to Outlook), see the article Export contacts to an Outlook address book.

What do you want to do?

Import or link to Outlook contacts by using the Exchange/Outlook Wizard

Import contacts by using a text file

Import or link to Outlook contacts by using the Exchange/Outlook Wizard

You can use the Exchange/Outlook Wizard to import or link to Outlook contact data. If you import the data, Access produces a copy of the Outlook data and places it in an Access table. Changes applied to the data in either programme do not affect the data in the other programme. Conversely, if you use the link option, Access preserves a link to the Outlook data. Changes saved to the data in Access are duplicated in Outlook, and vice versa.

  1. The location of the import/link wizard varies minimally according to your version of Access. Select the steps that match your Access version:

  • If you’re using the newest version of the Microsoft 365 subscription version of Access or Access 2019, on the External Data tab, in the Import & Link group, pick New Data Source > From Other Sources > Outlook Folder.

  • If you’re using Access 2016, Access 2013, or Access 2010, on the External Data tab, in the Import & Link group, select the More button to open a drop-down list of options and then press Outlook Folder.

  1. In the Get External Data – Outlook Folder dialogue box, choose the option that you want, and then press OK.Select to import, append, or link to an Outlook folder.
  2. In the Exchange/Outlook Wizard dialogue box, click the folder or address book that includes the contacts that you want, and then select Next.Link Exchange/Outlook Wizard 1. Expand the top Mailbox folder. 2. Pick the folder that has the contacts that you want to import into Access.

Note: The look of the Link Exchange/Outlook Wizard differs slightly depending upon your version of Access and Outlook. As such, the screenshot above might not match exactly what you see in your application.

  1. Follow the instructions on the outstanding pages of the wizard.

Once you finish the wizard, Access imports or links to the contact data that you specified.

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Import contacts by using a text file

If you have trouble using the wizard (for example, if the wizard does not import a field that you need), you can attempt exporting the contacts from Outlook as a text file and then importing that text file into Access.

Step 1: Export the Outlook contacts to a text file

Run the following steps in Outlook:

  1. The location of the export wizard changes to some degree based on your version of Outlook. Follow the steps that match your Outlook version:

  • If you’re using the subscription version of Outlook, Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016 or Outlook 2013, on the File tab, pick Open & Export and then select Import/Export.

  • If you’re using Outlook 2010, choose File > Options. In the Outlook Options dialogue box, select Advanced and then below the Export section, choose Export.

Note: For a full discussion on exporting Outlook data, see Export or backup e-mail, contacts, and calendar to an Outlook .pst file.

  1. Outlook launches the Import and Export Wizard.

  1. On the Import and Export Wizard, pick Export to a file, and then select Next.

  1. Choose Tab Separated Values (Windows), and then press Next.

  1. Pick the Contacts folder that you want to export to Access, and then select Next.

  1. Enter a name for the file, using the file name extension .txt.

Note: Automatically, Outlook saves the file to your default documents folder. If you want to save the file to another location, pick Browse, and then browse to the folder in which you want to save the file.

  1. On the next page of the wizard, press Finish.

Outlook exports the contents of the chosen folder to a text file.

Step 2: Import the contact data into Access

  1. Enter the Access database into which you want to import the data.

  1. The location of the import/link text wizard varies minutely according to your version of Access. Pick the steps that match your Access version:

  • If you’re using the latest version of the Microsoft 365 subscription version of Access or Access 2019, on the External Data tab, in the Import & Link group, pick New Data Source > From File > Text File.
  • If you’re using Access 2016, Access 2013, or Access 2010, on the External Data tab, in the Import & Link group, press Text File.

  1. In the Get External Data – Text File dialogue box, choose Browse.Select to import, append, or link to a text file.

  1. Choose the file that you created in the previous procedure, and then pick Open.

  1. Press Import the source data into a new table in the current database, and then select OK.

  1. In the Import Text Wizard, click Delimited, and then choose Next.

  1. On the next page of the wizard, make sure that the options are set, as shown in the following table:
OptionValue
Choose the delimiter that separates your fieldsTab
First Row Contains Field NamesSelected (checked)
Text Qualifier (double quotation marks)

  1. Follow the instructions on the last set of pages of the wizard. After the wizard finishes, Access imports the text file. For more detailed instructions on how to import data into Access from text files, see Import or link to data in a text file.

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What else should I know?

  • For information on how to change a specification name, delete specifications, or update the names of source files in specifications, see the article Manage Data Tasks.

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