Software

Flash Outlook contacts

Everything's mobile these days, including your Outlook contacts. Just download them to a flash drive and go!

If you're like me, you live and breathe by your contacts. They're vital to my business, as they probably are to yours. When I'm on the road without remote access, that can be a problem. I know that I can print my contacts, but taking the .pst file with me is much better. (The .pst file contains your contact information.) It's a simple process:

  1. From the File menu, choose Import And Export.
  2. Choose Export To A File and click Next.
  3. From the list of file types, choose Personal Folder File (.pst) and click Next.
  4. Select Contacts and click Next.
  5. Save the exported file to your flash drive (or a CD).
  6. Click Finish.

To use the file, you can simply import it into Outlook on another computer. But you should also be prepared to not have access to Outlook. Repeat the above process again, saving your .pst file as Microsoft Excel file and a comma-delimited text file (Comma Separated Values). If the worst happens, you can at least view the information.

Now, you probably already knew that you could export the .pst file. What you might not have considered was how easily you could save that exported file to a flash drive and take it with you.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

21 comments
raleighrealtor
raleighrealtor

Just export your contacts to Google . . . it's pretty safe. (I think)

daphneco
daphneco

all I wNT TO DO IS COPY MY CONTACT TO A FLASH DRVE

howard
howard

I followed the directions above, but info is not readable. unintelligible

lap
lap

Just print your Contacts to a PDF writer and store the pdf, also if you use Adobe Acrobat Pro you can password the file.

letter_2_roy
letter_2_roy

Hi ! Dear Sir, This is extremely fine and useful for e-mail oriented profession and business. with thanks & regards, swapan.

javierrosado
javierrosado

I think that method is too primitive for the geeks that we usually are. Tell me who doesn't have a PDA or PDA-enabled phone these days. You can even sync your contacts to Yahoo or Hotmail and access them online at any Internet-enabled computer around the world. I think there are too many other ways to do that which are more functional, practical, and more attractive to us geeks.

louis.slabbert
louis.slabbert

Hi Susan, thanks for the post, CSV export is always useful. I would like to add that there's no need for this if you're just using Gmail, another webmail or even Outlook Web Access (on your mobile phone) Without remote access? I haven't heard this term in quite some time. Coming from South Africa where we had the 1st digital mobile phone network, and the highest usage of internet on mobile phones, I have probably just had more exposure to the mobile web. Since living in the UK from 2004, I've seen the massive difference in usage / and knowledge of Mobile Internet between the UK and South Africa. Nowadays if you have access to a computer/laptop, you've got a 90% chance of having access to the net (In the UK it will be via your local Free Library or BT Hotspot, whereas back in SA it would be by using your phone as the moden via GPRS/Edge/3G/HSDPA) Then again, if you have your mobile phone on you, you've got access to gmail, or even OWA and all your contact info without having to take out your laptop. And with Google's new Android software, you're phone will automatically be synced with your web contacts. All of this is really old technology in reality. The Market has just grown up enough to be receptive.

mfranzen7
mfranzen7

I commonly sync three of my computers, but never able to update or transfer other than what was mentioned, which can be a pain on a weekly bases. Does anyone know which data file needs to be copied in order to sync with other systems? I have done this with My Documents with no problems, but this outlook file seems to be intertwined with the software making it difficult to keep common with several machines other than doing an export and than importing it to another.

ssharkins
ssharkins

My mobile phone is just that -- a phone. It doesn't even take pictures! :)

laura
laura

I agree about using the phone as well, but if that is not an option and you don't take a laptop with you - you couod also use www.logmein.com to access your data. You can get a free account. laura@eliminatechaos.com 10/1/08

nbsc
nbsc

I currently use 2 methods to sync OL to several computers. One machine is via a local network, 2 others via the flash drive method as described above. I also sync 2 other piece of equipment with ActiveSync from MS. One of these is a Smartphone, the other a PDA. With a contact database of nearly 2,000 entries I needed something that could handle the load, & allow daily instant updating. ActiveSync does that for me, along with my calendar. Once following a disastrous crash of my main system (that I hadn't backed up for a while), I was able to reinstall all of my information back from my Windows Mobile-5 phone using ActiveSync.

rpb_
rpb_

And when you lose the Flash drive with all of your personal (and business) contacts on it? Can Outlook save to an encrypted file format?

benyehudi
benyehudi

You will find your desired "Outlook" file(s) using Windows Explorer under Desktop > [user file name] > AppData > Local > Microsoft > Outlook. Rather than Sync the single file, I copy the entire folder to my external storage device so as to include all the attending files such as .DAT, .OBI, .KFL .

mbrello
mbrello

JUST a phone? What's that?! :)

iainpd
iainpd

I simply keep my entire, password protected, outlook pst file on a USB stick and configure Outlook on each of my machines to look at the USB stick for the file. This way it doesn't matter which machine I use it's always got the current PST file - works fine between W2K, XP and Vista. I use the Outlook 2003 backup utility to back up the PST file. Okay, maybe not the securest method - but oh so convenient.

info
info

Not Sure if out look can but I do the above procedure, and save it on to a true crypt volume on my flash drive. True crypt is a powerful freeware encryption program. not sure of the link do a search on Google and you'll find it. hope this helps.

MGP2
MGP2

[i]JUST a phone? What's that?![/i] It's a device for which I paid a grand total of $20 to purchase and, in order to use, I purchase a $100 card that usually lasts me close to a year (Read: About $8.50 per month.) $1200 a year for phone service? What's THAT? ]:)

iainpd
iainpd

Configuring Outlook to do this is really quite simple, if you can configure Outlook for one machine with your .pst file on a USB key you just duplicate the setup on the other machines. Set the path to the data file to look at your USB key. The only gotcha is if you attach another device which grabs the drive letter your USB key is using then Outlook won't find the file - hey, just unplug the other device. Shout if you need more info, happy to help.

pcchallenge
pcchallenge

Could you please detail how to do this? Thanks!

baldwia
baldwia

Flash drives don't last forever, remember. I would use it as a secondary, not primary source. Or at least back up your back up.