How to backup your Outlook 2019 / 2016 contacts to an Excel or personal folder (PST) file?

Version applicability: Outlook and Excel 2019, 2016; Office 265; Windows and MAC OS

Last updated: September 2018

Once a year, i typically consolidate a full list of all my Outlook contacts – both business and personal into a spreadsheet which i keep in a separate network storage.

In today’s quick tip, i will describe a very simple procedure that will allow you to save your Outlook 2016 contact persons list into an comma separated values (CSV) file, which you can edit with Excel or alternatively, into a personal outlook data file (PST). Both are pretty similar but serve a bit different purposes.

Export your contacts to an Excel CSV file

We’ll first learn how to save your address book contacts into an Excel CSV file, so you can backup them as needed. You could then edit the list as needed and then import and sync them into your Iphone or Android phones and into third party services like GMail, Yahoo Mail or even your MAC Icloud. Business users might also import their CSV files to other Outlook mailboxes served by Microsoft Exchange.

Here’s the process you should follow to backup your address book contacts:

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook.
  2. Hit File.
  3. Select Open & Export.
  4. Select Import/Export.
  5. Select Export to a file.
  6. Hit Next.
  7. Now go ahead and select Comma Separated Values
  8. Hit Next again.
  9. Select your Contacts folder.
  10. Select Next.
  11. Provide a meaningful name to your contacts .csv file.
  12. Hit Next and you are done.
Special Bonus: Download the Free PDF version of our Outlook 2016 Tips and Tricks guide.

Save contacts to a .pst file (Outlook Data file)

Sometimes, you might want to migrate your contact between different versions of Microsoft Outlook, or  import contacts from Outlook to the Microsoft web application. In this case, you might opt for exporting your Contacts people list to an Outlook Data file, commonly referred as .pst.

The process is quite similar to the one described  in the previous section. Note that in step 6 – you’ll need to pick Outlook data file to create a contacts .pst file.

Import your .pst file contacts into Excel (csv / xlsx / xls files)

If you already have a .pst file, you can import its contents into Microsoft Excel using Microsoft Outlook. Provided that your pst file contents are visible as  part of your Contacts folder in Outlook, then the process will be similar to the one we outlined in the previous section in this post.

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Leave a Comment:

Kathy says July 6, 2016

I am trying to export contacts form MS Outlook for Mac 2016 for an excel spreadsheet. It will only let me create an .olm file. How do I create a .csv file? I see no way to do it.

James Ebert says February 7, 2017

could not enter email, for free tips, did not take
do you recommend csv or regular excel file, for safekeeping

Rita says September 1, 2017

How do I get Outlook 2016 to include user-defined fields when exporting to Excel? We use Outlook for our real Estate customers database. I have added 5 user-defined fields because the standard fields are not appropriate for our uses. (i.e. couples with different last names and separate cell phones and work phones.) Anniversary field formats Friday, 9/1/2016 2:00p.m. and I can’t change it to just Sept. 1st. Now I have the fields I need, it will not export them into Excel.

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