Outlook – Import/Export Common Issues

KB 00170


Contacts are missing info

After you import your contacts, if you open Outlook and see that not all the info was imported, use Excel to open the .csv file to see if all of the information was there in the first place.

  • You can edit the .csv file using Excel to add names and other missing information
  • Outlook requires the column headings in the first row so don’t replace them with something else
  • When you save the .csv file, Excel will prompt you a few times with “are you sure you want to save it in .csv format? Always choose ”Yes”.  If you choose no, the file will get messed up and you’ll need to start over again by exporting the list of contacts from the source email system
  • Repeat the steps to import your .csv file to Outlook. When prompted to handle duplicates, be sure to choose Replace duplicates with items imported.


No contacts appear in Outlook

If you complete the import process, but no contacts appear in Outlook, do the following:

  • Locate the .csv file you exported from your source email system, for example, from Google. If you exported contacts from Google, the default file name is contacts.csv
  • Use Excel to open the .csv file you exported from the source email system
  • Check whether there is any information in the .csv file. If there isn’t any information in the .csv file, the export from the source email didn’t work.  In that case:
  1.  Delete the contacts.csv file

     2.  Export your contacts from the source email system again.  If you are exporting from                    Google, be sure to export “All contacts”, or the right group of contacts.

   3.  After you export your contacts, use Excel to open the CSV file and check that there’s data.            When you close the file Excel will prompt you a few times with “are you sure you want to              save it in CSV format?” Always choose “Yes”.  If you choose no, the tile will be messed up              and you will have to start the export all over again.

Some contacts are imported to Outlook, but not all of them


Let’s say that you’re trying to import 800 contacts, but only 300 of them import.  There might be a problem with the format .csv file.  Open the file with Excel and try removing row 301, and re-port your .csv file.


A file error has occurred in the Comma Separator Value translator


Error message occurs when trying to import a .csv file that had a poorly formatted data.  If you see this error message, that might be the problem.  Try deleting the .csv file, exporting the data again then importing it.

Unable to retrieve data

Error message “Unable to retrieve data…” when trying to import a .csv that is empty.  If you see the error message below this might be the issue.

Use Excel to open your .csv file and see whether there’s data in it.  If there isn’t, try exporting your contacts from your source email system again and then check whether there’s data in it before going through the steps to import the file to Outlook.

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