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TechRepublic Tutorial: Convert multiple e-mail addresses to contacts in Outlook

How to convert e-mail addresses to contacts in Outlook

If you’ve ever had to send the same reply to multiple e-mails, or you’ve just been lackadaisical about saving new addresses in your Contacts folder, this trick will brighten your day. And, if you’ve got a classroom full of salespeople or other professionals who receive lots of e-mail, they’ll love you for giving them this bit of knowledge.

First, let’s set the scene. Suppose you’re Fred the widget salesman whose Web site has generated tons of responses to a sale ad that mistakenly offered 12 widgets for $1. You now have an Inbox full of e-mails that you must respond to with the same correction message. Should you send each one separately? No! Should you copy and paste each address into a new message window? No!

You could take the time to open each message, right-click on the sender’s address and choose Add To Contacts. But that would take forever, and those addresses would become jumbled with the addresses of others who are already on your Contact list but don’t need to be notified.

Extracting senders’ addresses from multiple messages
There is a better solution. To prepare to extract the addresses from the e-mails, you’ll first want to move them into a separate folder. (If you need help with this, read Outlook training: Folders keep the Inbox clutter free.) Once you’ve moved them, you’re ready to perform the steps below.

To export the messages to an Excel spreadsheet using the Import and Export Wizard:
  1. Click on the file menu and choose Import And Export.
  2. Choose Export to a file and click Next.
  3. Choose Microsoft Excel and click Next.
  4. Select the folder containing the messages and click Next.
  5. Click the Browse button, navigate to where you want to save the exported file, name it, click OK and click Next.
  6. Click Finish.

At this point, you’ve successfully transferred the contents of the folder into an Excel file. It’s now an Excel database containing all the information that was stored in the messages—including names and e-mail addresses of the senders.

Export the messages to Excel using the Import and Export Wizard.


Reincarnated: Creating contacts from exported messages
Now you’re ready to move the information back into Outlook, but this time you’ll map the data in the Excel file so that the Name fields and e-mail address fields are properly stored in the Contacts form. Before you import the data, you’ll want to create a new folder under your Contacts to store these specific addresses. Then:

Click on the file menu and choose Import And Export.

Choose Import from another program or file and click Next.

Choose Microsoft Excel and click Next.

Click Browse, navigate to the Excel file, click OK, and click Next.

Click on the new Contacts folder you created and click Next.

Click Map Custom Fields.

Click and drag the FromName field from the From Microsoft Excel box on the left to the Name field in the To Microsoft Outlook box on the right.

Click and drag the FromAddress field from the From Microsoft Excel box on the left to the e-mail field in the To Microsoft Outlook box on the right.

Click OK and click Finish.

Click the Map Custom Fields button to redirect information from Excel to Outlook.


By mapping the FromName field in the Excel document to the Name field in the To Microsoft Outlook area, you’re letting Outlook know that the Name information is stored in a field of a different name in the incoming information. That’s where it will pull that information out of the Excel database you created when you exported the information.

You should find new contacts of the messages’ senders are stored in the new Contacts folder. You can now open a new mail message, click the To: button and choose New Contact List (or whatever you named your new Contacts folder) in the Show Names From The: drop down list. It will be listed below your default Contacts folder. Then click the first name on the list, hold down the Shift key and click the last name on the list. This should highlight all the names. You can then click the To button to address the message to all the contacts. If you want them all to receive the message, but not be able to view one another’s e-mail addresses, click the Bcc button instead to send blind carbon copies.

It’s easy to address the message once you’ve converted the senders to Contacts.


Once you’ve mastered this technique, you’ll find more practical ways to use the Import and Export Wizard as well as the Map Custom Fields function to save time and cut down on repetitive tasks.
Have you figured out another fruitful use for the Import and Export Wizard? How have you used the Map Custom Fields function? Send us your tricks, tips and shortcuts or post a comment. We’ll share them with the rest of the IT Trainer community.
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