Importing and exporting contact records
In addition to copying and moving contact records between address books within your Outlook configuration, you can import contact records into an existing address book from external files and programs. Outlook accepts data imported from non–application specific files, files created in other Microsoft programs, and files created in third-party programs.
You can import data into Outlook from data files created in Outlook (.pst files) or from plain-text files that contain field values separated by commas (.csv files). Similarly, you can export contact records from Outlook for import into Outlook or another program.
In this exercise, you’ll import contact records from a tab-separated (also referred to as tab-delimited) text file into an existing address book. Then you’ll export a selection of records from the updated address book to a file that other Outlook users can import, and you’ll test that you successfully exported only the records you wanted.
Display the Open & Export page of the Backstage view.
Opening a file creates a link to the external file; importing adds the data to your Outlook folders.
On the Open & Export page, click Import/Export to start the Import and Export wizard.
You can export and import specific items or entire RSS feeds.
With Import from another program or file selected in the Choose an action to perform list, click Next to display the list of file types from which you can import content.
Outlook 2013 accepts data only from .csv and .pst files.
In the Select file type to import from list, click Comma Separated Values. Then click Next.
You can choose whether to allow, refuse, or replace duplicate files.
Click the Browse button to the right of the File to import box to open the Browse dialog box. In the Browse dialog box, navigate to the Chapter09 practice file folder, click the SBSContacts file, and then click OK.
In the Options area, click Replace duplicates with items imported. Then click Next. Because you started the wizard from the SBS Contacts address book, that folder is already selected as the destination folder.
You can import content into any type of folder.
With SBS Contacts selected in the Select destination folder list, click Next. The wizard displays a description of the import operation and provides additional configuration options.
You can choose to map custom fields or change the destination of the imported content.
On the wizard’s last page, click Map Custom Fields to open the Map Custom Fields dialog box. In this dialog box, you can match named fields from the import source file to named fields in Outlook. You might need this functionality when you import content from a file that was not originally created in Outlook.
If the structure of the imported records is different from the Outlook contact record structure, you can match incoming data fields to Outlook data fields before you import the content.
Scroll down the From list and note the fields that are present in the source file. Then in the area below the From list, click Next to display in the Map Custom Fields dialog box the first record in the source file.
In the To list, click the Expand button to the left of Name to display all the name fields. The Mapped From column displays the value from the current source record that maps to each of the Outlook fields.
Click Next a few times to view additional records, and scroll the To list to review the way the records map to the Outlook fields. Then click OK to close the Map Custom Fields dialog box.
On the last page of the Import and Export wizard, click Finish to import the contact records into the SBS Contacts address book. In a few seconds, the address book contains 11 contact records.
On the Home tab, in the Current View gallery, click Card to display information from multiple records. Notice that the five contact records you created earlier in this book now contain additional information. In fact, new versions of these contact records were imported from the SBSContacts file. Because in step 6 you selected the option to replace duplicate records, the new records, which contain additional information, replaced the records you created.
Imported and replaced contact records.
Now you’ll export selected records from the updated address book for distribution to other Outlook users.
On the Open & Export page of the Backstage view, click Import/Export to start the Import and Export wizard.
In the Choose an action to perform list, click Export to a file, and then click Next. As with the import process, in Outlook 2013, you can export only to a .csv or .pst file.
In the Create a file of type list, click Outlook Data File (.pst). Then click Next.
Now we’ll select the records to export.
The SBS Contacts folder is selected for export.
With SBS Contacts selected in the Select the folder to export from list, click Filter to open the Filter dialog box. From this dialog box, you can filter the contents of the selected folder so that only items (in this case, contact records) that meet specific criteria are exported.
On the Contacts page of the Filter dialog box, enter Northwind in the Search for the word(s) box. Then click the In arrow to display the types of fields on which you can filter contact records.
Contact record filtering options.
In the In list, click company field only. Then in the Filter dialog box, click OK.
In the Export Outlook Data File wizard, click Next.
The default settings for the export process save the exported file as backup.pst in a subfolder of your user profile named Outlook Files. Instead, we will save the file in the practice file folder.
To the right of the Save exported file as box, click the Browse button. In the Open Outlook Data Files dialog box, navigate to the Chapter09 practice file folder. In the File name box, enter NorthwindContacts. Then click OK.
You can export items to a new or existing .pst file.
On the wizard’s last page, click Finish. Before exporting the records, Outlook gives you the options to password-protect the file.
You can keep the contents of an Outlook data file confidential by assigning a password to the file.
In the Create Outlook Data File dialog box, click OK to create the file without assigning a password.
To test that you successfully exported the file, use the techniques you learned in this chapter to create a contact folder named SBS Northwind, as a subfolder of the SBS Contacts address book and import the NorthwindContacts data file into it. During the import process, the Import Outlook Data File wizard prompts you to select the folder you want to import and the import location.
Contact record importing options.
In the Select the folder to import from list, click SBS Contacts (the folder from which you exported the data file). Click the Import items into the current folder option. Then click Finish to import the records from the NorthwindContacts data file into the SBS Northwind address book.
After you import the contact records, notice that the People cards for each contact display information from multiple sources.
The People cards for Northwind Traders employees display information from both address books.
Now we’ll delete the new address book to avoid confusion in later exercises.
In the Folder Pane, right-click the SBS Northwind address book, click Delete Folder, and then click Yes in the Microsoft Outlook dialog box that appears.