Converting from a MAPI Address Book to Contacts

Last reviewed on May 7, 2014   —  4 comments

Note: Outlook 2010 does not support the use of PAB files. It can import from a PAB only.

If you have been using a third-party address book, such as Corel’s, with Microsoft Outlook, you may not have a direct method to convert those addresses to the Personal Address Book or an Outlook Contacts folder. You can, however, try this generic method posted by former Outlook MVP Athena (thanks!). For Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000, it applies only to Corporate or Workgroup mode.

This method imports only records with an e-mail or fax address. If you need all records, not just e-mail and fax addresses, you will have to find a way to export from the third-party address book to a text or database file. Then, either import that directly into the Contacts folder (for Outlook) or (for Exchange) use the Import to Personal Address Book tool with Word.

Convert to PAB

  1. Start Outlook/Exchange using a profile that contains both the third-party address book and the Personal Address Book service. (If necessary, use Tools | Services to add the PAB service, then exit and restart Outlook/Exchange.)
  2. Choose Tools | Services. If you want to use a fresh, empty PAB to hold the imported addresses, select Personal Address Book, then click Properties and change the name and location to create a fresh PAB file.
  3. In the Services dialog box, switch to the Addressing tab. Under Keep personal addresses in, make sure that Personal Address Book is selected.
  4. Close the Services dialog.
  5. Click the Address Book toolbar button, or choose Tools | Address Book to display the Address Book.
  6. In the Address Book, under Show names from, choose the Corel Address Book or whatever third-party address book you want to import from.
  7. Highlight the first entry, then press Shift+Ctrl+End to select every name in the third-party address book. Right-click on the selected names, and choose Add to Personal Address Book. That will copy all the entries to the PAB.

Convert to Contacts

Import to a PAB file, as described above, then follow these steps:

  1. If the Contacts folder you want to import to is not in the current profile, use File | Exit and Log Off to quit Outlook completely. After MAPI has shut down completely, restart with a profile that contains both the target Contacts folder and the Personal Address Book service.
  2. If the PAB service is not pointing to the PAB file you used above, choose Tools | Services. Select Personal Address Book, then click Properties and change the name and location to point to the PAB used for importing from the third-party address book.
  3. Use File | Import and Export to import the records from the PAB to your Contacts folder.

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.

4 responses to “Converting from a MAPI Address Book to Contacts”

  1. Jo

    Can you import a .cvs file into the Address book?

    Thanks!

  2. Jane

    Hello Diane - Hope you can help me please. Do I have to have a separate contact folder for each email account I have - it appears that way but it seems odd as I have 6 or 7 email accounts so it is an unnecessary duplication of contacts and work

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