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How do I export address book information from my current email program?

Most of the email applications which store address books on your computer will allow you to export information which you can then transfer to other applications or systems. For example, if you are a member of staff moving to the new Exchange mail system, you can export any address books stored on your computer to a file which can then be imported to the new system.

When you use the export facility, you will often be given a choice for the format of the export file. If they are available, the LDIF or vCard formats are usually a good choice because they include more information than the simpler CSV or tab-separated files.

The process to follow to export information from some common email or address book programs is given below.


  • Open the address book by clicking on the Address Book button in the toolbar.
  • Highlight the address book you would like to export (if you have more than one, you have to export them one at a time).
  • Chooose Tools and then Export.
  • Choose a name for your file and a location (such as the Desktop or My Documents).
  • Select the format for the file (such as LDIF).
  • Click Save.

Outlook 2010

  • In Outlook, select Contacts.
  • If you have more than one Contacts folder, click on the folder you would like to export.
  • Click on the File menu tab, then click on Open in the menu on the left.
  • Click on Import from the list of tools on the right.
  • In the Import and Export Wizard window, click on Export to a file and then click Next.
  • Select Comma Separated Values (Windows) and then click Next.
  • Check that the correct contacts folder is highlighted and then click Next.
  • Click on Browse and choose a name and location for the file to contain the exported data.
  • Click on Next and then click Finish to start the export.
    A panel saying 'Exporting contacts from folder to file' will show progress during the export process, and then disappear when it has completed.

Apple Mail

  • Open the Address Book and in the Group column, highlight the book you would like to export.
  • From the main menu, choose File, then Export..., then Export Group vCard.
  • Choose a name and location for the file and click Save.

Once you have exported a file, you can then import it to your new mail program or system. If you are a member of staff moving to the new mail system, you can use our transfer page to upload your file to the new system.

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This is question number 2263, which appears in the following categories:

Created by David Guest on 15 March 2011 and last updated by Richard Byrom-Colburn on 29 September 2016