Making the Exchange Server GAL Portable

Last reviewed on July 17, 2013   —  No comments yet

You can select contacts in the GAL (using either Shift+ or Ctrl+ to select multiple entries at once) and use File, Add to Contacts to add the GAL entry to your Contacts folder. In newer versions of Outlook this creates a contact with the SMTP address. In older versions of Outlook the Exchange x.400 address is used and you’ll need to use the methods below to export the SMTP addresses.

Exchange administrators with POP3 or IMAP users who won’t or can’t use LDAP have asked whether it’s possible to extract the SMTP addresses from the Global Address List and distribute them in some portable format. (You may have noticed that GAL entries added to Outlook contacts resolve to the Exchange X.400 address, not the SMTP address.) We suggest several methods below.

PAB + Outlook Express Method | Tools | Other Methods

PAB + Outlook Express Method

MVP Hal Hostettler devised this method, which requires that you have Outlook Express and that the Personal Address Book (PAB) service be installed in your Outlook profile:

  1. In Outlook, click the Address Book button to display the Address Book dialog. Under Show Names from the, select Personal Address Book.
  2. To create a new PAB named GALTransfer.pab, right-click on Personal Address Book in the Show Names from the list, then choose Properties. Under Path, enter a new path, if desired, and the file name GALTransfer.pab. Click OK.
  3. Back in the Address Book dialog box, under Show Names from the, select Global Address List (or any Recipients container or address book view).
  4. Hold down the Ctrl key as you click on each name you want in your portable GAL PAB. If you want to select all names, click on the first name in the list, then use the scroll bar to see the last name. Hold down the Shift key as you click the last name.
  5. Right click on the selected names, and choose Add to Personal Address Book from the popup menu.
  6. Open Outlook Express. If you have names already in your OE address, you may want to export and delete them, so they don’t get mixed into your portable GAL.
  7. Choose File | Import | Address Book.
  8. In the Address Book Import Tool dialog, select Microsoft Exchange Personal Address Book, and then click Import. This puts all the SMTP addresses for the GAL entries that were in the PAB into your Windows Address Book in OE.
  9. Return to Outlook.
  10. Repeat Step 2, but this time create a new PAB file named GALSMTP.pab.
  11. Use Outlook’s File | Import and Export function to import addresses from Outlook Express into your Personal Address book.

When you finish, the GALSMTP.pab file will contain the names and SMTP addresses of everyone you selected from the GAL in Step 4. It will not, however, have any other GAL details, such as department or phone number. If you need that information and not just the SMTP addresses, you’ll need to try one of the other methods.

You can also skip steps 9-11 and instead use File | Export | Address Book in Outlook Express to export the GAL address to a comma-delimited .csv file that virtually any e-mail program should be able to import into its address book.

Tools in the Spotlight

Address Magic Personal Edition

Convert your Personal Address Book to or from Windows Address Book, Eudora, Netscape, Outlook Contacts, LDIF and other address book formats.


UnitySync (Previously SimpleSync) is a tool that synchronizes data between directories, providing organizations with a unified view of their disparate directories. UnitySync can scale from a small directories with hundreds of objects to enterprise directories consisting of hundreds of thousands of objects without requiring extensive training or installation/configuration time. All major directories and databases supported.



Distribute your GAL to POP3 and IMAP users via e-mail or the Web. Updates are automatically sent to users running Outlook, Outlook Express, and other clients.


Synchronize objects between multiple domains and forests. Share information securely between Exchange organizations. GALsync allows you to share Exchange mail-enabled objects of your Active Directory forest with other forests. Transfer types are ftp, windows shares and email. Encryption possible. Sharing objects helps users in one or both messaging organizations to access information about users and groups of the partner organization. No additional software or hardware required. Works with Windows 200x and Exchange 200x. Version 2.5


An NT/2000/XP Service that copies Global Address List information to a database, using Extended MAPI, not ADSI or CDO. GALtoDB supports Microsoft Access, Oracle, Microsoft SQL, and most other database systems. It includes the ability to create a new distribution list based on information from the Global Address List, while excluding email addresses that match criteria that you define, perfect for creating or recreating an up-to-date distribution list that does not contain unwanted accounts, such as Service accounts, VIP accounts, etc.

IMI GAL Exporter

IMI GAL Exporter (Also known as IMI Global Address List Extractor) for Microsoft Exchange Server is a small utility for Exchange Admin to export GAL to a few file formats. What is new in this version? Native export to CSV, XML, HTML, SQL, Microsoft Office Excel, Microsoft Access. If you are working with Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 and there is more than one Exchange Server to your MAPI profile you can choose a specific Address list (Exchange Server) for export.

Insight AddressBook

Insight AddressBook is an Outlook plug-in that has the same look and feel as Microsoft's Global Address List, from an LDAP server. Insight AddressBook provides customers with instantaneous lookups when using the "check name" feature in a new mail message. The AddressBook integrates completely with Insight Connector and Outlook. The browsable GAL can lookup and display the name, email, phone numbers, fax, and more for each user. In addition, the schema can be changed to work with other mail servers. Free trial available.

More Information

XADM: Bulk Import/Export FAQ

Use these tools to display Exchange Server GAL information via a web interface:
Customer Contact Web Application

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlookforums.

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