Our Partners...

How To...‎ > ‎

Recreating Distribution Lists

Exporting Outlook Distribution Lists for import into Google Contacts

This document contains instructions for converting an Outlook Distribution List into a Google Contacts Group. Note that Google Contacts treats email addresses within groups differently than Outlook does. In Google, an individual contact will be created for every person that is a member of a group. Google uses the individual contacts as the foundation for group creation. Outlook, however, allows Distribution Lists to contain email addresses that do not appear as individual
contacts. The result of this is that your Google contact list has the potential to be significantly larger than your Outlook Contact list, but this is normal and not cause for concern.

Step 1

Launch Outlook, browse to Contacts, and open the Distribution List that you want to move to Google. 

Step 2

In Outlook 2007, click on the Office Button and choose Save As. In Outlook 2003 choose File -> Save As. You should save the list as a .txt file. Where you save it doesn’t matter - just pick someplace where you can easily find it. 

Step 3

Next, launch Microsoft Excel and open the file you just created.

Step 4

Upon attempting to open the file, the Excel Text Import Wizard should launch. Choose Delimited as the file type, then click Next.

Step 5

In the delimiters section, select Tab, Comma, and Space. This will separate the data into the appropriate columns, and remove any leading spaces. Click Finish once you’ve selected these three Delimiters.

Step 6

You should now be viewing a spreadsheet that’s formatted in a similar fashion to the one shown below. Now for a bit of cleanup! Start by deleting the text that appears above your address data. This is left-over from the Outlook export and is not needed. Also, do a quick visual inspection of the columns to make sure everything lines up properly. Address entries from Outlook that include middle names or only an email address with no name can cause column data to line up improperly. 

Step 7

Next, insert header labels at the top of each column, and remove and extra rows between the column headers and the first address row. The column headers should be “last name” “first name” and “email address.” The Google import process recognizes these header names.

Step 8

Now the data is cleaned up and you’re ready to save the file. Choose Save As, and save the file as a .csv formatted file. This is the format the Google accepts for imports. Once again, the location where you save does not matter – put it somewhere you can easily find it. 

Step 9

When saving as a .csv file, Excel may prompt you with the message shown below. Click Yes to confirm that you wish to save the file in .csv format.

Step 10

Now on to the Google portion of this operation! Open your Brown Gmail account and browse to the Contacts page. Once there, choose the Import link in the upper-right corner. You will see the dialogue box shown below. Click Choose File and browse for your recently created .csv file. Once selected, make sure the checkbox next to Also add these imported contacts to: is selected. This will ensure that a new group will be created, or an existing group will be populated when the Outlook contacts are imported. Click Import to begin!

Step 11

If you selected the checkbox to create a new group, the dialogue box shown below will appear, asking you to select a name for the new contact group. Type a name, and then click OK to continue.

Step 12

Once the import is complete, a summary of activity is displayed: