Software optimize

Migrate Outlook contacts to your Android phone

Jack Wallen walks you through the steps for migrating your Outlook contacts to your Android phone if you're using IMAP or POP3.

If you own an Android device, you probably already know that you can't sync to Outlook without the help of third-party software. Of course, if you're on Exchange, it's not a problem. But for those using IMAP or POP3, just plugging that phone into your PC won't do it. Fortunately, I found a fairly simple method for getting your Outlook contacts to your Android device.

This method requires your Android phone to be connected to a working Gmail account. Once that's in place, you're ready to take on the migration. Let's get those contacts moved over.

Step 1: Export contacts from Outlook

Here's how to export contacts in Outlook 2010 (adjust accordingly for the version you are using):

On your PC, go to the contacts piece of Outlook, and then click File | Options | Advanced. Click on the Export button, select Export to a file (see Figure A), and click Next. Figure A

You can export/import to and from various sources, but it's crucial to select the right choice here or Google won't be able to work with it.
In the next window, select Comma Separated Values (Windows), and click Next. Select the Contacts entry from the "Select folder to export from" list (see Figure B), and click Next. Figure B

You can export anything you want, but the goal here is the Contacts.

Finally, name and find a location to save the exported file to, and click Finish.

Step 2: Import the contacts into Gmail

Log into your Gmail account on the PC where you exported your contacts. In the Gmail window, click the drop-down that appears when you hover over "Mail" (under the Gmail logo in the left corner), and select Contacts (see Figure C). Figure C

Once you're in the Contacts window, "hover" the mouse over the contacts pane (left side) to reveal the entire tree and the Import Contacts button (see Figure D). Figure D

Sometimes the "hover" effect doesn't work so well in Gmail, but this is the only way to get to the Import Contacts button.

After you click Import Contacts, a new window will appear. Select the Choose File button, locate the file exported from Outlook, and then click the Import button.

Step 3: Sync your phone

Now, all you have to do is run the sync on your mobile device. Each phone will handle this differently, but more than likely, all you need do is wait a moment and the device should auto-sync the new contacts. If not, you can follow these steps.

  1. Open up Contacts
  2. Click the menu button
  3. Tap Accounts
  4. Tap your Google account
  5. Click the menu button
  6. Tap Sync Now

That should do it. Your Outlook contacts should now be on your Android phone. Of course, if you make changes to your contacts in Outlook, those changes will not be reflected on your Android device. To see those changes, you'll have to resync.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

18 comments
gubdanda
gubdanda

Mate,

U R D Best.  I toiled so much, all to no avail until I came across your post. You are a saviour. Thanks a million

Manglenn
Manglenn

thank you so very much. i just spent about 3 hours trying every other unsuccessful way i could think of just to sync my outlook 2003 to my new cool ROM (CyanMobile). I was using Wondershare MobileGo app just fine with my old ROM, syncing between the same dang phone and the mikG v3.11 ROM, but after flashing the new ROM I JUST COULD NOT GET ANYTHING TO APPEAR IN MY PHONE'S CONTACTS!, even though wondershare was saying I had 48 in my contacts on the phone. Again, thank you so very much.

johnywhy
johnywhy

"if you make changes to your contacts in Outlook, those changes will not be reflected on your Android device. To see those changes, you’ll have to resync." No, you'd have to run the entire process again, starting with the Outlook Export.

huwtomos
huwtomos

Just downloaded "Outlook address Book" from the google play store, which gives you access to all your company contacts on your android. Its worth a look. Really useful when you are away from the office.

hooyerd
hooyerd

My Outlook contacts have a note field for each contact. On my windows phone it is actually a tab I select when viewing a contact to see any associated info I may have entered for that particular contact. I have a few hundred contacts and I use the heck out of that note field. Does that 'note' information move with this migration? I can't get a straight answer from the cell phone stores. Most say "no", the note info does not move when you use the gmail sync. Thanks for any info as this stops me from getting an Android device. Hooyer

Jey Dardon
Jey Dardon

Thanks for posting this!! I had a hard time migrating from Blackberry to Samsung S3 mini.. downloaded several programs without success! thanks to this post I happily have my contacts! :)

steve jack
steve jack

I use OutlookReflex app to share my outlook contacts to android mobile.

richard
richard

You can use Google Sync to sync your Google Calendar, Gmail, contacts and browser bookmarks with just about everything (Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Symbian, PC, Mac, Linux, Windows Mobile, Chrome, etc). It makes using multiple phones and devices a breeze. Check it out at http://www.google.com/sync/index.html

Gisabun
Gisabun

No matter what people say, one huge advantage Blackberry users have had over Android or iPhone usersd is syncronization. Open the Blackberry Desktop Manager, wait a second and [assuming it's configured and that takes a minute if not] syncing with your contacts and calendar [and if you want Email] are synced. No need to import or export. BBD reads Outlook's contacts directly. Directions like the above brings you back to the stoneage. Shhot even when I had my old Motorola Razr I could sync my contacts directly with Outlook - and that was 5-6 years ago.

kprice122
kprice122

Thats nice but what about other email applications like AOL, not everyone has Gmail

hkphooey
hkphooey

The ultimate aim of this kind of exercise is to get all your contacts synched both ways on all your devices. I believe the answer for this in SyncML, which is a lingua franca for any sync device. There is a client for Outlook, and one for Android (and also one for Thunderbird in alpha unfortunately). Most mobile phones will talk SyncML natively. The missing glue is the central repository server. That can be tricky to track down for free. Funambol.com used to give out free accounts, but I think you have to pay for them now. You can run your own funambol server in a Virtual Machine if you're technically inclined. I think Horde also does SyncML. Google does have limited support for SyncML, but only for contacts right now, so if that's all you need, you can use two way sync with your Outlook and Android SyncML clients, and you're good to go. But I hope Google continues to work on this and comes up with a full syncML solution. Anyway, as I see it this is a problem we're all struggling with -- getting the same contacts on all our devices and having the ability to update the central database from any one of them.

mnweni
mnweni

This is not a very useful solution. There are a number of syncronising applications that work very well e.g. MyPhoneExplorer

greggatshack
greggatshack

Best to get rid of Outlook altogether and use Google to sync your contacts and calendar on your phone and computers you may use

yeungma
yeungma

Similarly, I use the Gmail account to populate the Contacts into iPhone4 and iPad2.

wellcraft19
wellcraft19

I have a BBerry Torch and an iPhone 4S... I used to loathe having to sync via iTunes, or actually allowing iTunes to "manage" anything. But after now two years with iPhone/iTunes, I have to say that they work FAR better with Outlook than BlackBerry ever did. The funny thing is that iTunes/iOS devices also sync much better with Outlook than Windows Phone. My "central" repository is my desktop at home. All contacts are found there, and updates on other devices eventually will show there as well. I am not yet ready to upload my contacts "en masse" to the Cloud. Have seen far too many breaches (Gmail, hotmail, AOL, etc) where people with less than honest intent have gotten access to and used those (Clouded) contacts for spam, etc.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Someone still has AOL?

Gisabun
Gisabun

Please. Gmail's web interface is garbage. Recent changes have caused problems with XP users.