Importing Lists from Excel to Outlook

Last reviewed on January 30, 2012   —  20 comments

Many users have contact data stored in Excel workbooks or created calendar events in Excel to take advantage of formulas and fill features when creating a large number of events. It’s very easy to move the data to Outlook.

As with any database, you will need to name the columns your data is in. You can either use whatever name you want and map it to Outlook fields or export to Excel format and delete the data from the workbook and enter your data. You’ll also need to name the used range of cells in Excel.

Save Excel Worksheet

If you are importing all of the data in the worksheet, save the workbook in CSV format. This is the easiest way for most users to import an Excel worksheet trouble-free and we recommend using CSV format when possible.

  1. Save the workbook as Comma Separated Values (CSV).
  2. Close Excel.

If you have data in cells that you are not going to import, create a named range:

  1. Select your used data range and type a name in the field to the left of the address bar. (Include the field names in your selection.)
  2. Press Enter.
  3. Save the workbook as an Excel 97-2003 workbook.
  4. Close Excel.

Import into Outlook

  1. Go to File, Import and Export
  2. Select Import from a file
  3. Choose Microsoft Excel as the source
  4. Browse to the workbook file.
  5. Select the Calendar (or Contact) folder.
  6. Select the named range. If you export to Excel to get the field names, you’ll see two named ranges when you import. Just make sure you select the correct named range.
  7. If you aren’t using the field names that Outlook uses, you’ll need to map your fields to Outlook’s fields.
  8. Press Next when ready and finish the import.

Video Tutorial

More Information

  • Alternate method: save the workbook as a CSV file and import the CSV.
  • Outlook 2007 uses the Excel 97-2003 *.xls format, not the Excel 2007 *.xlsx file format
  • You can import calendar data into any calendar folder in any *.pst or your mailbox.
  • You cannot import into a public folder calendar or secondary Exchange mailbox. To import into either, create a calendar folder for the import and move the appointments after the import.
  • Use these same steps with Contacts, choosing a Contacts folder (obviously)
  • If you drop a field on the wrong Outlook field, drop it again on the correct field and Outlook will remove it from the other field.

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.

20 responses to “Importing Lists from Excel to Outlook”

  1. Jarmo

    So sad that this does NOT work in 2010 Office. There seems to be no way to import calendar data to outlook. None of the file options work ( Access, Excell, Csv, etc...)

  2. Chris

    Doesnt work in Office 2010. Cant remove fields.
    Tried as .csv & .xls

  3. Himanshu Dogra

    Its not working for me as well on outlook 2010.

  4. Theo Willemse

    Worked for me when i exported to CSV.
    It's sad that Microsoft decided to not support there own MSO2010 Excel files though.

  5. Tom Gregory

    Followed the instructions and said complete but nothing was in the calendar. What format do I need to put Date fields into?

  6. Jon Smith

    Outlook 2013 cannot import its own exported csv files. It gives a translator error. The only workaround for that is to import the csv into gmail contacts and reexport as an outlook csv file. Then Outlook will import the csv file.

  7. jtssnk

    Not working for me either. It imports some information but it doesn't show up on my outlook calendar.

  8. brich1975Brandon

    I'm afraid I know the answer but asking anyway. I imported a bunch of dates into my Outlook Calendar from Excel, but at my company we have found a better approach by using the feature in Sharepoint. Any way to mass delete the dates I put in or is this a manual process? Thank you for any help you can provide!

  9. Megan

    I'm using Office 2010 and it worked great! I have several recurring meetings that use a recurrence Outlook doesn't allow (the second-to-last business day of the month, for example) but that I can create by formula in Excel. In the past, I've either created a recurrence that's close and tweaked the individual items or created the first item and used copy/paste. This is so much easier, thank you!

  10. Radka Lopez Garcia

    I am using Microsoft Outlook 2010 and the file does not come to my calendar. I follow the steps exactly, the last thing I see is a window with two folders and data flying in between, but nothing shows up in my calendar. What is preventing it from showing? Anybody can help, please? Thank you.

  11. Linda Sgabellone

    I realise that this is an older post but hoping someone who can answer my question, reads this. I am doing exactly what the instructions above describe, using both an "xls" and "csv" format. In both cases, however, when I get to the "Map Custom Fields" step in Outlook (2007), the OK button is disabled and nothing I do reactivates it. Then, when I finish the import process, nothing imports. Am I missing a step or is there somethign I can do to activate the OK button in the MAP Custom Fields step... Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  12. Jan Pupik

    Works perfectly in 2010. (used the 97-2003 xls format for import)

  13. Natasha

    hope this thread is still monitored!
    I have been successfully importing events lists from excel 97-2003 into outlook with no problem until this morning when i suddenly started getting an error message saying that the field name didnt exist. I couldn't find a way to get around this so i coped the excel sheet into a CSV sheet and it works from there. However, i can't continue to use this as CSV doesn't allow you to change the width of the fields or format the text so is unreadable without going along and manually widening the columns every time i open the file.
    Anyone know why i got an error message?

    Also when i tested a new excel 97-2003 sheet and imported lists from there, the import went fine but the event did not appear on the calendar.

    very confused!

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