Copy Outlook Express address book contacts to Outlook

Applies to
Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003
Microsoft Outlook® 2002
Microsoft Outlook® Express 6
Microsoft Outlook® Express 5
Microsoft Outlook® Express 4

Outlook Express is a no-cost, basic e-mail program that is included with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Outlook Express stores contacts in a Microsoft Windows® Address Book file with an extension of .wab. The name of the file is based on your Windows logon name. For example, Lori Kane may have a Windows logon name of lorik, and her Windows Address Book file would be lorik.wab. This file is saved at C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book.

Outlook cannot use a Windows Address Book (.wab) file, but it can import contacts from it. The most common way that Outlook contacts are stored is in your e-mail server mailbox, in a Personal Folders file (.pst) (Personal Folders file (.pst): Data file that stores your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file to be the default delivery location for e-mail messages. You can use a .pst to organize and back up items for safekeeping.), or in a Personal Address Book (.pab) (Personal Address Book: A customizable address book used to store personal e-mail addresses you use frequently. However, Contacts offers more advanced features for this function. Personal Address Book files have a .pab extension and can be copied to disk.).

To use your Outlook Express contacts in Outlook, you must do one of the following:

  • Import the Outlook Express contacts into the Contacts folder in Outlook.
  • Export the Outlook Express contacts to a Personal Address Book accessible in Outlook.

Which method should you use?

Outlook Contacts folder

Personal Address Book

The Contacts folder in Outlook provides substantially more data fields for each contact. For example, you can add pictures, birthdays, several types of phone numbers, anniversaries, Web site addresses, and other custom information with your contacts. You can also use categories on Outlook contacts. The Contacts folder also has Unicode (Unicode: A character encoding standard developed by the Unicode Consortium. By using more than one byte to represent each character, Unicode enables almost all of the written languages in the world to be represented by using a single character set.) support for international languages. In addition, you can create multiple contacts folders, which can achieve the same separation of contacts as a Personal Address Book. Outlook contacts, although not in a separate file like a Personal Address Book, can be exported to an Outlook data file that can be copied to another computer or shared with others. The Personal Address Book is a separate file that Outlook can access. The entries contain a very limited amount of information about each contact. The advantages of a Personal Address Book are that it is a separate file that can be easily copied and used on other computers and that you can keep your personal contacts separate from your existing Outlook contacts. The Personal Address Book does not support Unicode (Unicode: A character encoding standard developed by the Unicode Consortium. By using more than one byte to represent each character, Unicode enables almost all of the written languages in the world to be represented by using a single character set.), which provides support for international languages.

We recommend that you use the Outlook Contacts folder, because it provides flexibility and customization unavailable in the Personal Address Book.

Exporting Outlook Express contacts

 Note   The following scenarios assume that you have Outlook Express and Outlook installed on the same computer. If you want to export Outlook Express contacts from a computer that does not have Outlook installed, see the "Troubleshoot importing contacts" section.

Do one of the following:

ShowImport Outlook Express contacts into the Outlook Contacts folder

  1. In Outlook, on the File menu, click Import and Export.
  2. Under Choose an action to perform, click Import Internet Mail and Addresses.
  3. Under Select the Internet Mail application to import from, click Outlook Express 4.x, 5.x, 6.x.
  4. Clear the check boxes for Import Mail and Import Rules. Only the Import Address Book check box should be selected.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Select one of the following:

Replace duplicates with items imported    Existing data will be overwritten with the information in the file that is being imported.

Allow duplicates to be created    Existing data will not be overwritten, and duplicates will be added to the current Outlook folder.

Do not import duplicate items    Existing data will be kept, and the duplicate information in the file will not be copied to the current Outlook folder.

  1. Click Finish.
  2. After the export is complete, click Save in Inbox if you want a message in your Inbox that logs what was exported, or click OK.

ShowExport the Outlook Express contacts to a Personal Address Book

  1. Add the Personal Address Book to Outlook if it isn't already there.

ShowHow?

  1. In Outlook, on the Tools menu, click E-mail Accounts.
  2. Select Add a new directory or address book, and then click Next.
  3. Select Additional Address Books, and then click Next.
  4. Select Personal Address Book, and then click Next.

 Note   If you receive the error message This account or directory already exists and cannot be specified twice, click OK, click Cancel, and then skip to step 2.

  1. In the Name box, type a name that is easy for you to associate with the Personal Address Book. For example, you can call it Imported Outlook Express Contacts.
  2. Under Show names by, select Last name (Smith, John), and then click OK.

This will file your contacts in the same way that Outlook displays contacts by default.

  1. Quit and restart Outlook.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Address Book.
  3. In the Address Book dialog box, on the Tools menu, click Options.
  4. Under Keep personal addresses in, select the name you provided for the Personal Address Book in step 5, for example, Imported Outlook Express Contacts.
  5. Click OK.
  1. In Outlook Express, on the File menu, point to Export, and then click Address Book.
  2. Click Microsoft Exchange Personal Address Book, and then click Export.
  3. If prompted, select the Outlook profile to use, and then click OK.
  4. When the export is finished, click OK, and then click Close.

Troubleshoot importing contacts

ShowI want to export contacts from Outlook Express, but I have Office installed on another computer.

The export process is designed to export directly into an Outlook Personal Address Book (.pab) file. Without Outlook installed, you will not be able to export Outlook Express contacts into a Personal Address Book.

 Note   You can attempt to export Outlook Express contacts by clicking Export on the File menu, clicking Address Book, selecting Microsoft Exchange Personal Address Book, and then clicking Export. You will receive the message Address book export process has completed. However, this message may be misleading, because no Personal Address Book file is created.

To use the exporting instructions in this article, you must make the export from a computer that has both Outlook Express and Outlook installed. The easiest way to accomplish this is to move the Windows Address Book (.wab) file that is used by Outlook Express to store contact information, to the computer that has both programs installed. Then you can open Outlook Express on the other computer and perform the export as outlined in this article.

ShowHow?

  1. Do one of the following:

ShowMicrosoft Windows® 2000

  • On the Windows desktop, double-click My Computer.

 Note   If My Computer is not on your Windows desktop, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer.

ShowMicrosoft Windows® XP or Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003

  • Click Start, and then click My Computer.
  1. Browse to C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book.

You may need to modify the default view in Windows Explorer to see hidden folders.

ShowHow?

ShowWindows XP or Windows Server 2003

  1. Click Start and then click My Computer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. Click the View tab, and then click the Show hidden files and folders option.

ShowWindows 2000

  1. Double-click My Computer on your desktop.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. Click the View tab, and then click the Show hidden files and folders option.
  1. Copy the Windows Address Book file to removable media, such as a floppy disk, DVD, or portable memory device, or copy the file to a network location that the computer with both Outlook and Outlook Express has access to.

 Note   The name of the file is based on your Windows logon name. For example, Lori Kane may have a Windows logon name of lorik, and her Windows Address Book file would be lorik.wab.

  1. From the removable media or network share, copy the Windows Address Book file to the C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book folder on the other computer.

 Note   If the same file already exists, make sure to rename or back up the file on the other computer first.

  1. Open Outlook Express, and then follow the instructions above under "Import Outlook Express contacts into the Outlook Contacts folder" or "Export the Outlook Express contacts to a Personal Address Book."

ShowSome contacts I imported don't appear in the Outlook Address Book.

In the Navigation Pane, click Contacts. If the contact appears there, make sure that there is an e-mail address or fax number associated with the contact. If neither of the fields contains data, the Address Book will not display the contact. It would be impossible to e-mail or fax someone without this information.

ShowI am getting the error message: The Windows Address Book is currently unable to perform this export. Make sure you have a Personal Address Book set up in Outlook and that it is set as your current personal Address Book.

You can receive this error message if there is no Personal Address Book in Outlook or if the Address Book is not configured as the place where personal addresses are kept.

  1. In Outlook, on the Tools menu, click E-mail Accounts.
  2. Select Add a new directory or address book, and then click Next.
  3. Select Additional Address Books, and then click Next.
  4. Select Personal Address Book, and then click Next.

 Note   If you receive the error message This account or directory already exists and cannot be specified twice, click OK, click Cancel, and then skip to step 8.

  1. In the Name box, type a name that is easy for you to associate with the Personal Address Book. For example, you can call it Imported Outlook Express Contacts.
  2. Under Show names by, select Last name (Smith, John), and then click OK.

This will file your contacts in the same way that Outlook displays contacts by default.

  1. Quit and restart Outlook.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Address Book.
  3. In the Address Book dialog box, on the Tools menu, click Options.
  4. Under Keep personal addresses in, select the name you provided for the Personal Address Book in step 5, for example, Imported Outlook Express Contacts.
  5. Click OK.
 
 
Applies to:
Outlook 2003