Importing Lists from Excel to Outlook

Last reviewed on January 30, 2012   —  24 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.

About Diane Poremsky

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 Outlook forums by

24 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...)

    1. Diane Poremsky

      It should work in Outlook 2010. What happens when you try? In Outlook 2010, Import (and Export) is under File, Open.

  2. Chris

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

    1. Diane Poremsky

      What do you mean you can't remove fields? It does work in Outlook 2010, something is preventing it from working for you.

  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.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      There were issues with using XLS files - beginning with named ranges. CSV is safer and easier for most people. They removed all import filters in Outlook 2013 - only pst and csv are supported.

  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?

    1. Diane Poremsky

      Did import a CSV or xls file? XLS files need to have the data in a named range.
      Outlook should detect any valid short date field.

  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.

    1. Diane Poremsky

      I'm not having problems with Exports from Outlook kicking up that error, although I'm not sure why you export to CSV if you are going to use it in Outlook, export to pst instead.

      You will get that error from windows Live Contacts ( - see Translation error for more information but basically, you need to open the CSV in notepad, save as ANSI then it will import.

  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!

    1. Diane Poremsky

      It's really easy to delete from the calendar - switch to a List view, select all and delete. If you only want to delete the items you imported and can't sort (or search) in a meaningful way that groups the one you want to delete together, add the Modified date field to the view and sort on it. Everything imported at the same time should have the same modified date.

  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.

    1. Skylar

      I'm having the same issue as Linda - no responses from experts? I'm using Excel and Outlook 2010 and trying to get Outlook Calendar to import events from Excel. Using all possible combintations of file types from Excel, when I try to import I can get to the map custom fields (and BTW, I'm using filed names in Excel that match Outlook Calendar field names), the OK function is not activated. Backing up a screen and making sure the box to the left of the import file is checked, if I click anywhere else in the box with the list, the map fields option disappears, but finish is active. Clicking finish, it appears to be importing, but nothing shows up on the calendar.

  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!

    1. Diane Poremsky

      You can open CSV in Excel and change the field widths. :) I'm guessing there is a problem with the named range in the spreadsheet and outlook needs named ranges to import. Or the field mapping needs fixed - that is the last field of the import wizard.

  14. efficientexcel

    Hi Diane

    I am trying this in 2013 - using a csv file. I notice that when I preview the entries it is not picking up the fields correctly. It is appending letters from my Subject column to the end of all other fields like start time and end time, location etc.

    Any ideas what could be causing this?


Leave a Reply

If the Post Comment button disappears, press your Tab key.

This site uses XenWord.