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Managing Contact Records in Microsoft Outlook 2013

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In this chapter from Microsoft Outlook 2013 Step by Step, learn to organize the contact records into an individual address book, import a fresh set of contact records into a custom address book, and then export a subset of the records, create a contact group and send a message to a subset of the group, locate specific contact records by using the Search feature and the commands available on the new Search tool tab, and finally, personalize the content of an electronic business card.

Chapter at a glance

Creating address books



Creating contact groups



Importing and exporting contact records



Personalizing electronic business cards




  • Creating address books.

  • Importing and exporting contact records.

  • Creating contact groups.

  • Quickly locating contact information.

  • Personalizing electronic business cards.

If you regularly save contact information for business and personal contacts in Microsoft Outlook, you will quickly accumulate a large collection of contact records. Being able to organize and quickly locate specific contact information is important for efficient communications. The more people you deal with on a daily basis, the more important it is to keep your contact list organized. You can simplify communications with specific groups of people by creating contact groups to which you can address messages as you would an individual contact. You can also create purpose-specific address books and organize contact records within the address books to make it easier to locate specific contact records. You can add contact records to a custom address book either by moving contact records that are already stored in Outlook, or by importing contact records from another program or file.

The Search feature of Outlook 2013 makes it easy to find a specific contact record based on any text within the contact record or any attribute, such as a color category that you assign to it. Within each contact record, you can make preferred contact information easily discoverable by displaying it on the electronic business card version of the contact record. You can also display images, such as photographs or corporate logos on business cards, to provide additional information when you view contacts in the default Business Card view.

In this chapter, you’ll first organize the contact records associated with this book into an individual address book. You’ll import a fresh set of contact records into the custom address book, and then export a subset of the records. Then you’ll create a contact group and send a message to a subset of the group. You’ll locate specific contact records by using the Search feature and the commands available on the new Search tool tab. Finally, you’ll personalize the content of an electronic business card.

Creating address books

Outlook displays your default address book when you click the People link or button on the Navigation Bar. The default address book content is stored in a folder named Contacts. If you connect to a Microsoft Exchange Server account, the default address book is part of that account, and the information you store in the address book is available on all devices from which you connect to your account. Exchange Server also provides a Global Address List (GAL), which is an address book maintained centrally by your Exchange administrator.

You can track all your contacts—business and personal—within the address book of your default email account. However, you might find it useful to create a separate address book that contains contact records for only a specific group of people. For example, you might want to have an address book that contains only clients, relatives, club members, neighborhood contacts, parents and teachers from your child’s school, or sports teammates.

You create an additional address book by creating a folder that has a designated purpose of containing contact items (a contact folder). You can move and copy contact records between address books in your Outlook configuration. As with other folders, you can share the contact folder with other Outlook users on your network, or you can export it for distribution to other people. Unlike the Calendar module, in which you can display multiple calendars, the People module can display only one address book at a time. When you have multiple address books, you can switch among them by choosing the address book you want to display from the list in the Folder Pane of the People module or from the Folder List in the Mail module.

In this exercise, you’ll create an address book and move existing contact records into it.

  1. On the Folder tab, in the New group, click the New Folder button to open the Create New Folder dialog box.


    Because you are creating this folder from within the People module, Contact Items is selected by default. However, you can create any type of folder from within any module.

  2. In the Name box, enter SBS Contacts.

  3. In the Select where to place the folder list, click your account name (or Mailbox, depending on your account configuration) to place the new folder at the same level in the Folder List structure as your default module folders.


    You can create a contact folder anywhere within the existing folder structure.

  4. In the Create New Folder dialog box, click OK to create the SBS Contacts address book. The address book appears in the My Contacts list.


    The Folder Pane of the People module lists all the available contact folders.

  5. On the Navigation Bar, click the Mail button to display your Inbox. Notice that the SBS Contacts folder is not visible in the Folder Pane.

  6. Click the Folders button to display the Folder List, which includes all the folders in your Outlook configuration rather than only those containing mail items. The SBS Contacts folder appears in alphabetic order in the list.


    A contact card icon next to the folder name indicates that it is a contact folder, designed to hold contact items.

  7. In the Folder Pane, click the SBS Contacts folder to display the currently empty address book. Although the Folder List still appears in the Folder Pane, the ribbon displays the groups appropriate to an address book.

  8. On the Navigation Bar, click the People button to display the usual People module Folder Pane, which provides easy access to your address books.


    The same features available within your main address book, such as the contact index, are available within this custom address book.

  9. In the My Contacts list, click Contacts to display your default address book, which currently contains the five contact records you created in Chapter 4.

  10. In the contact list, click the Jill Frank contact record once to select it.

  11. Drag the selected contact record from the contact list to the SBS Contacts address book in the Folder Pane. The record disappears from the contact list.

  12. In the contact list, if the Dean Halstead contact record is not already selected, click it once to select it.

  13. On the Home tab, in the Actions group, display the Move list.


    Click to view larger image

    The Move list includes your custom and standard folders; you can browse to other folders.

  14. In the Move list, click SBS Contacts to move the selected contact record.

  15. In the contact list, click the Lola Jacobsen contact record. Press and hold the Ctrl key, and then click the Sarah Jones and Ben Miller contact records in turn to select all the contact records you’ve created for this book that remain in your main address book.

  16. Right-click any one of the selected contact records, click Move, and then click SBS Contacts to move the contact records.

  17. In the Folder Pane, click SBS Contacts to display the custom address book, which now contains the five records you moved there.


    Click to view larger image

    The contact records you’ve created for this book are now collected in the custom address book.