This article describes how to use the Import and Export Wizard to import text data into Outlook, and export Outlook data to a text file.
Using a text file is helpful when the converters provided with Outlook do
not directly match the format of the data you want to import. Most programs can
export and import text files, so you can often use a text file as a common
file format for exporting and importing data.
The Outlook Import and Export Wizard can import and export the following
types of text data:
- Comma Separated Values (MS-DOS)
- Comma Separated Values (Windows)
- Tab Separated Values (MS-DOS)
- Tab Separated Values (Windows)
MS-DOS or Windows
You should make the decision to use the MS-DOS or Windows converter based
on the text character set used in your data. ASCII is a character set used
by many MS-DOS programs, and ANSI is a character set used by many Windows
programs. The main difference between ASCII and ANSI are the upper 128
characters; the lower 128 characters are the same. The upper 128 characters
are often referred to as extended characters. ASCII extended characters
include line draw characters while ANSI extended characters include
international characters and publishing symbols.
Comma or Tab Delimiter
The character used to separate, or delimit each field in your data determines
if you use the comma or tab separated converter. If you open your data in
Microsoft Word 97 and see commas between each field, your data is
comma-separated (CSV). If you see a space between the
fields, your data is either tab-separated, or uses a fixed width field.
The Outlook tab-separated converter looks for a tab character between
fields. In Word 97 you can select the Show/Hide option; tabs appear as
arrows that point to the right, and space characters appear as small dots.
: Do not save your file as a Word document, since Word uses a different
Before attempting to import data from a text file it is necessary to
inspect the header record to assure that the items stored in the text file
match Outlook internal names. The header record is the first record in the
text file. It defines the way that the data is organized. If these
fields do not match, data will not be imported.
To find out what the standard Outlook field names are you can generate a
sample of these fields in Outlook.
To Generate a Sample of Outlook Fields
Before editing your data source, it may be helpful to generate a sample
of the fields used in Outlook. To generate the sample fields, follow these
- If present, remove the current binary mapping file, "Comma
Separated Values (Windows).adr" located in the Windows\Application folder. This procedure will rebuild this file.
- On the View menu, click Folder List if it is not already displayed.
- In the Folder List, right-click the Outlook folder you want to use, and on the shortcut menu, click New Folder.
- Give this temporary folder a name and click OK. You may delete this
folder once the sample fields file is created.
- On the File menu, click Import And Export. Click Export to a File, and then click Next.
- In Create a file of Type, click Comma Separated Values
(Windows), and then click Next.
- In Select folder to export from, click to select the folder you
created in Step 2, and then click Next.
- In the Save exported file as, type a name for the file and click
Browse, to select a folder to save the file in.
Click OK to save the exported file, and then click Next, and then click Finish.
The resulting comma-separated values file contains the fields that Outlook
uses for the folder you selected. Repeat this step as necessary for each
type of data you want to import. While familiarizing yourself with the
Outlook field labels, note that precise spelling is necessary. For example,
when defining electronic mail addresses, Outlook uses the spelling, "e-mail."
Importing Text Data
To import data from a text file, follow these steps:
- On the File menu, click Import And Export.
- In Choose an action to perform, click Import from another program or file, and click Next.
- In Select file type to import from, click the file type
that matches your data, and click Next.
- In File To Import, type the path and file name of the file you want to import, or click Browse to navigate to the file, and then click Next.
- In Select Destination Folder, click the folder you want to import to, and click Next.
- Confirm that the destination folder is correct, and then click Finish.
Exporting Text Data
- On the File menu, click Import And Export.
- In Choose an action to perform, click Export to a file, and click
- In Create a file of type, click to select a format for the file you
want export, and click Next.
- In Select folder to export from, click the folder you want to
export, and click Next.
- In Save exported file as, type the path and file name for the file you want export, and click Next.
- Confirm the action and then click Finish.