Migrating your contacts
Mar 16, 2009, 13:28 GMT
Washington - Use a computer long enough, and you come to rely on your list of contacts.
For many, those contacts have been stored in Microsoft's popular Outlook e-mail and contact management program. But increasingly people want to move their contact information - to another instance of Outlook, to Gmail, or to a mobile device. How do you get your contacts to move with you? Read on for some answers.
Q: I bought a new laptop and want to move my Outlook contacts from my old machine to the new laptop. How can I do this?
A: There are actually several ways to do this, including moving your contacts as part of moving all of your e-mail. But we'll concentrate here just on moving your contacts.
First, on the old machine, open Outlook. From the File menu, select Import and Export. The Import and Export Wizard opens. Select the Export to a File option, and click Next. From the following panel, select Comma Separated Values (Windows), and click Next.
On the next screen, you're expected to select a folder to export. The list of folders that appear are those within Outlook - both ones you created and ones that are created automatically by Outlook. Select the Contacts folder, and click Next. The Export to a File dialog box appears, and you'll need to choose a location for the exported contacts as well as a file name. The extension should be 'csv,' as in 'mycontacts.csv.' Once you have a location and a file name, click Next, confirm your selections in the following dialog box, and then click Finish. Outlook exports your contacts.
Take the csv file you just created and copy it to the new machine, in a location of your choice. Then open Outlook on the new laptop, and select Import and Export from the File menu. From the Import and Export wizard that opens, select 'Import from another program or file,' and click Next. On the screen that follows, select Comma Separated Values (Windows), and click Next. The next screen, Import a File, contains a Browse button, which you should use to locate the 'csv' file that you exported.
Locate the file, tell the Import wizard whether you want the contacts you import to overwrite any existing contacts, and click Next. On the following panel, which lists all of your Outlook folders, select the Contacts folder, and click Next. You are then presented with a panel on which you confirm the source file you're importing and the destination. There are also two buttons on this panel - Map Custom Fields and Change Destination. You can ignore these for the purposes of importing data from another instance of Outlook, but if you were importing anything from another contact manager, you would want to click Map Custom Fields to tell Outlook which fields in your file represent name, address, phone number, and so on.
When you've confirmed that your file and destination are correct, click Finish. Outlook then imports your data, and you should be all set.
Q: I use Gmail from work and Microsoft Outlook at home. I can get my e-mail from both Gmail and Outlook, but my contacts are stuck in Outlook. Is there a way to move my Outlook contacts to Gmail?
A: Yes, the good news is that you can now import your Outlook contacts into Gmail. To do so, first follow the instructions above to export your contacts from Outlook into a comma-separated file.
Once that process is complete, open Gmail, and click the Contacts link on the left. That link is located directly under all of the links that make up areas of your inbox. Gmail will open the Contacts area in the place where you usually see and read your e-mail.
In the Contacts area, there's an Import link in the top right-hand corner. Click that, and Gmail will give you a Browse button with which you can browse to the location on your hard drive where you stored the comma-separated file that you exported from Outlook.
Browse to the file, select it, and click OK to return to Gmail. Then click Import. Gmail may take some time to import your contacts, but once the process is finished, you should have access to all the contacts that you had in Outlook, and the e-mail addresses of contacts should appear automatically when you're in the To field of a new e-mail message.
Q: I recently acquired a BlackBerry and am increasingly using it to field e-mail messages. I don't have my contacts from Outlook in the BlackBerry, though. Is there any way to import them?
A: Yes. Blackberry makes a free software program call BlackBerry Desktop that you can download (http://na.blackberry.com/eng/services/desktop), install, and use to synchronize your Outlook contacts with your BlackBerry. You should have received this software with your BlackBerry, but if you did not, you can download it from the link above.
Once the software is installed, connect your BlackBerry to your computer, start up the software, and use the Synchronize feature to import the information you want.
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