The Hostway Blog

Moving Email Contacts

Your email address book is your lifeline, so when you replace your computer or change your email client, you don’t want to lose it. Luckily, most email clients let you import and export this data easily. In most cases, the simplest method is to export the data to a .csv (comma separated values) file, which is a text formatted file widely accepted by most programs. Then you can save the file to a disk or jump drive and import it to your new computer.

Move Email Contacts in Outlook 2007

Outlook is the most common business email client, but if you use a different one, the procedure should be similar. You may have to look under File or Tools to find the Import/Export function, and some clients may use a different file format.

In Outlook:

  • Under File, select Import and Export. A small window will appear
  • Choose Export to a file
  • Choose the type of file you want to create. For this example, choose Comma Separated Values (Windows)
  • Choose the folder you want to export from, usually Contacts. Hint: If you have your contacts list open when you first enter Import and Export, the appropriate contacts file will automatically be selected at this step.
  • Name your file
  • On the confirmation screen, click Map Custom Fields to tell Outlook how to translate Outlook fields into columns in your file. If you will be importing the file back into Outlook, the default map should be fine. Otherwise, drag column headings from the From box into the appropriate field of the To box. Click OK and then Finish.

Keep in mind that if you have created multiple contacts lists you will need to export each one so that you do not lose any contacts.

To import the file on your new computer:

  • Select File, then Import and Export
  • This time, select Import from another program or file
  • Choose the same file type that you exported to (in this example, Comma Separated Values (Windows))
  • Browse to locate and select your file. Decide whether to create duplicates. If you are importing into a brand new email client it won’t matter, otherwise, it’s a good idea to allow duplicates. You can delete unneeded entries later
  • Choose a folder to import to, usually Contacts
  • On the confirmation screen click Finish

Changing Email Clients

If you are keeping the same computer, but changing email clients, you may be able to import directly from the old client to the new, as long as the old one is still on your computer. Use the same Import and Export function, and choose Import from another program or file. If your old email client is listed, select it, click Next, and the import should be automatic. If your old email client is not listed, you will have to export to a file and then import it as detailed above.