Pro tip: Print Outlook contacts by category

Having lots of contacts is probably good, until you need to print some but not all of them. Using categories, you can quickly customize a view that you can then print.

Printing with Outlook

Printing a list of Outlook contacts is easy, but sometimes you need to print a subset of your contacts. Using categories and views, you can quickly print only the contacts you need, and no more. In this article, I'll show you a simple method for applying categories to contacts and then using that category to filter a view. From there, printing the filtered view is as simple as a few clicks.

Note: This article contains instructions for Outlook 2010 and 2013 only.

Printing basics

For the most part, printing contacts is as simple as selecting them and printing as you would print anything else in an Office app -- click the File tab and choose Print. For example, to print a single contact, you'd do the following:

  1. In the Contacts window, select the contact you want to print. (In Outlook 2013, click the People shortcut.)
  2. Click the File tab.
  3. Choose Print in the left pane (Figure A). You can click Print, or you can change the styles and options while reviewing the results in the Preview Pane and then click Print.

Figure A

Figure A
Choose the Print option.

Printing all of your contacts is just as easy. Select a Contacts folder in the Navigation Pane, click the File tab, and print. Printing all of your contacts can be a big task. Keep in mind that Memo style will print each contact on a single page, which might not be what you want (especially if you have a couple thousand contacts).

Printing subsets by category

When it comes to printing a subset of your contacts, you'll want to start with a view that uses a filter to populate the view with only the contacts you want to print. In this case, we'll filter by a category. That means you'll need to assign a common category to a few of your contacts as follows:

  1. Select the contact or a block of contacts.
  2. Right-click the Categories column for the selection -- or right-click the selection anywhere and choose Categorize.
  3. In the resulting dialog, select a category (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B
Select a category.

Figure C shows the result of assigning the Family category to a few contacts.

Figure C

Figure C
Assign a category to a few contacts.

Once you have a few categorized contacts, you're ready to create a view based on the category as follows:

  1. Click the View tab, choose Change View, and then select Manage Views.
  2. Click New in the resulting dialog.
  3. Give the new view a name, such as Family. (This step isn't strictly necessary.)
  4. Choose the type of view you want. In this case, I chose Card (Figure D).
    Figure D
    Figure D
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click Filter.
  7. Click the More Choices tab.
  8. From the Categories drop-down, choose Family (Figure E). The drop-down contains only those categories that you've assigned.
  9. Click OK three times.

Figure E

Figure E
Choose Family from the Categories drop-down menu.

When you're ready to print your Family (categorized) contacts, you'll need to change the view as follows:

  1. Click the View tab.
  2. Choose Change View in the Current View group, and click Family (Figure F).
  3. Click the File tab and choose Print.
  4. Adjust the style and options.
  5. Click Print.

Figure F

Figure F
Choose Change View in the Current View group and click Family.

Printing subsets without categories

Filtering by categories is just one way to print a subset. If you have no categories set, applying them appropriately could be a time-consuming task that you might not use again. The trick is to find a way to filter a view:

  1. Select the Contacts folder that contains the contacts you want to narrow for your print task.
  2. Click the View tab and click View Settings in the Current View group.
  3. Click Filter.
  4. Use these options to select only the contacts you want to print. There are many options -- enough to handle almost any filtering task you might have. You can filter by specific words, character strings, email addresses, and much more. You can even write a custom SQL statement.
  5. Click OK twice to view the filtered set (you didn't save it as before -- I wanted to show you an alternate route).
  6. Now, print as you normally would.

By combining views and categories, you can quickly print a subset of your contacts. If you don't have categories assigned, find another common link between the contacts and use it to filter for a quick one-time print task.

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