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In MS Office 2010, I have all my contacts from a previous Outlook 2010 installation saved in an Excel sheet. I have tried dozens of times to import, but when Outlook is supposed to do the mapping of the columns, it only results in one column in my CSV-file: firstname;middlename;surname, etc. It means I cannot map the data correctly.

I have tried saving in MS-DOS .txt and Tab delimited, but it does not get any better. I have tried saving on another computer and it does not help either. Also, I have tried importing to Gmail with same result.

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Have you tried saving the files as a csv? – soandos Nov 30 '11 at 5:36
yes, but using excel. Is there another way to save as CSV? – Michael Nov 30 '11 at 5:48
When you open the csv, there are missing commas (open it in notepad)? – soandos Nov 30 '11 at 5:53
the original excel or the excel-csv? – Michael Nov 30 '11 at 5:56
opened the csv-file in notepad. it looks correct. next step? – Michael Nov 30 '11 at 6:01

This works on 2007 and I believe 2010 is the same:

Open the csv file in Excel and manually move the data into separate columns, firstname middlename surname etc. Make sure each column has a useful title (it can be anything). Now save it as csv using a different name so that you keep the original file unchanged. When you import the data from the new file into Outlook, make sure you select "Map custom fields". Check that all the column headers in the csv file are matched to the correct Outlook fields (IIRC it's drag and drop to change them), then finish the import.

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Tried all of these, but didn't work. Matt gave me the right idea.

  1. Open .csv file with Notepad
  2. Click Edit -> Replace
  3. Replace ; with ,
  4. Save

At least in my case excel uses semicolons instead of commas. Not sure if thats the case for others as well.

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Had the same problem, this worked for me. Key info is how the CSV file looks to your import wizard, in my case it was treating all the fields as one because it didnt recognize the separator. – mart Oct 14 '15 at 5:51

The fact you have the information in the Excel file separated by commas is your main issue.

CSV files are 'Comma Seperated Value' files, basically a text file with commas seperating the values, not the cells/rows you are indicating to Outlook by having it saved as an Excel document.

Either follow Tog's instructions (to seperate the values within an excel document) or save the file as a .csv file and then try importing that. You may need to edit the file (or copy+paste it's contents from Excel to notepad) to remove any additional formatting created by having it saved in an Excel format.

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I know this thread is a few years old now but we've just found a solution which might save other people some time in the future.

We tried all the steps previously listed here but no joy until we opened the .CSV file with a text editor. We found quotes (") around all the fields - in some instances there were 3 quotes (""") before and after each item. This was even the case with contact lists exported from Outlook to .CSV files. This is possibly a combination of Office's use of text qualifiers and trying to escape the quote character.

The solution was to remove all the quotes using a simple text editor (Notepad, Notepad++ etc.) and save the .CSV file again.


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I was facing the same problem as Michael. All my contact fields were properly stored in separated columns in Excel. When saving as ".csv" the fields were separaed by ";". This was not recognized by Outlook for the mapping of the fields. The trick posted by Markus was the solution. Open the .csv file in Notepad and replace the ";"; by ",". Save the .csv file and go to Outllok for the import. This time Outlook recognizes teh separated fields and the match is done properly. Thanks Markus!

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