Import a WAB file into Outlook Contacts

Last reviewed on April 10, 2014

Users who copied a .wab file (Windows Address Book) from a Windows XP computer can import it in Outlook by going through Windows Contacts. If you also need to import Outlook Express email, you will need to use Live Essentials Mail or a third party conversion utility.

The wab is at C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book on Windows XP and may be named username.wab.

Step 1: Import to Windows Contacts

Double click on the .wab file and click Import. (This step is so easy and so fast you might not realize what happened.)

Import WAB into Windows Contacts

If you don't have the .wab file and still have access to the old computer, look for it at C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book. It may be named username.wab. Copy it to the new computer.

Step 2: Using Outlook 2010 and older

If you use Outlook 2010 or older, you can import the Windows Contacts.

  1. Open the Import/Export wizard. In Outlook 2010/2013, it's at File, Open, Import; in older versions, it's on the File menu.
  2. Choose Import Internet Mail and Addresses. Click Next.
  3. Choose Outlook Express.
  4. Choose Outlook Express

  5. Deselect Import Mail.
  6. Choose whether to allow duplicates to be created.
  7. Click Finish.

Depending on how many contacts you have, it can take from a few seconds to a few minutes to import the contacts.

Step 2: Using Outlook 2013

Outlook 2013 has limited import options. Your choices are Comma Separated Values (CSV) or vCards so you'll need to export the contacts from Windows Contacts in either CSV or as vCards. Because it's annoying to import a large number of vcards unless you use a macro, I recommend exporting in CSV format.

  1. Open Windows contacts. In Windows 7, type Contacts in the Start search field; in Windows 8, type Contacts on the Start screen. Press Enter to open Contacts.
    Click Export. If you don't see Export to the far right of Organize, expand the bar or maximize the window.
  2. Windows Contacts

  3. Choose CSV (Comma Separated Values) from the Export Windows Contacts dialog.
  4. Click Export.
  5. Choose Export

  6. Click Browse and type in a name for your CSV file.
  7. Click Save, then click Next.
  8. Select the fields to include in the Export. I recommend select all fields. (You need to click in each box.)
  9. Click Finish the Export.
  10. Close the Export dialog.

Now switch to Outlook 2013.

  1. Open File, Open & Export.
  2. Select Import/Export to open the Import/Export wizard .
  3. Choose Import from another program or file. Click Next.
  4. Import file

  5. Choose Comma Separated Values.
  6. Browse to the file you exported earlier
  7. Choose whether to allow duplicates to be created.
  8. Select your Contacts folder.
  9. Click Finish.

Video Tutorial

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.

8 responses to “Import a WAB file into Outlook Contacts”

  1. Maria watson

    Hi Diane
    Thanks for sharing the information about the outlook.I have been using windows XP and outlook configured on windows XP for quite some time.. Isn't this feature available in older versions of windows?


  2. Tony

    Thanks so much. You've been a lifesaver.

  3. Debra

    Thank you so much. I was almost at the point of retyping them all into Outlook 2013

  4. Debbie

    Diane, thanks soooooo much! I agree.....You are a lifesaver.

  5. Tom Wisniewski

    Diane, thank you so very much. I have been trying to get help in moving Outlook Express files from an XP PC running Outlook Express to a Win 8.1 PC running Microsoft Outlook 2010 and I have not been able to find complete instructions for the Import and Export anywhere. Your instructions were clear and concise and if someone could not understand them, you even had a video.
    I have spent many hours searching the web for help or calling Microsoft. They wanted $99 to help with a single incident. You are indeed a LIFESAVER. Thank you..
    Tom Wisniewski

  6. Ron

    I was starting to think I was going to have to enter all my contacts one at a time until I found this page. Thanks!!! Easy to follow.

  7. Pam

    Wow! Diane, you have just saved me hours of work. Your instructions are so precise and easy to follow, I was done in no time. I have had Windows XP with Outlook Express for 10 years and have just bought a new PC with Windows 8 and I've installed Office 365 on it. The thought of exporting anything at all was very daunting. I was planning on asking my busy son-in-law (computer wiz) for help. Wait until he hears what I've done, thanks to you. Love your work.
    Pam M.

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