Exporting Outlook Contacts to Mac Address Book

Here’s how to use the universal vCard business card format to port your MS Outlook contacts over to Mac Address Book.

In theory, you should be able to export your MS Outlook Contacts file to tab-delimited text or *.csv. I wasted too much time trying to find an export format that Address Book could import – I tried about half a dozen. I researched it. This works:

  1. In MS Outlook (2007), open a single contact that you want to port to Mac.
  2. Using the “Office Button”, select Save As->Export to vCard File and save the contact. Default destination is C:\Documents and Settings\(user name)\Application Data\Microsoft\Signatures. Use that default to avoid renavigation on every Save. Windows doesn’t remember where you saved the last time.
  3. This creates a vCard
  4. Repeat for all the contacts you want to save.  I did 97 contacts in less than half an hour. Look at all the folks I haven’t written for way too long!
  5. Open Signatures folder. Copy all of the signatures you want to port to Mac.
  6. If you are networking with the Mac, you can drop (paste) the files in the Drop Box or directly into a networked folder that you make. I made a Vcards subfolder in Mac’s Documents folder.
  7. If not networked, copy the folders to CD, USB drive or thumb drive and then mount on the Mac, copying to the directory of your choice.
  8. Now, open that folder in your Mac. Drag and drop the .vcf files into the Name column of the Mac’s Address Book.

You’ll usually get some XML garbage in the Notes field, but all of your legitimate Notes will also be preserved. Pictures in the Contact Picture field will be ported over!

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6 thoughts on “Exporting Outlook Contacts to Mac Address Book

  1. Thanks for taking time to post this. Great help! =) I should also try this one. I have encountered a lot of problems before in outlook 2011. You could also refer to Scrubly for other issues, it helped a lot especially in removing my duplicate contacts. My gmail contacts were duplicated when I have it synced and I’m glad I found this tool.


    Chris Smith

  2. Thank you for posting your solution. I tried your way but amended it slightly as I had 1000 contacts to transport and didnt want to do it 1 by 1. I was moving 1000 contacts from Outlook 2007 on a PC to Outlook 2011 on Mac then into Mac Address Book. The main problem I encountered with .csv’s etc were that the notes section in my contacts (which I use extensively) were not coming through with their formatting in tact, ie: spaces, carriage return were not preserved.
    The process I followed:
    1. In Outlook 2011 on Mac. Select all contacts you wish to move to Address Book using Edit>Select All.
    2. Use right hand mouse to select ‘Forward as V Card’.
    3. A mail message appears with all the contacts in the attachments section as VCard files. Select all these attachments and right hand mouse ‘save as’ to your Documents (or wherever).
    4. Open Address Book.
    5. Open Finder and select all the VCard files. Drag and drop them into Address Book.
    6. Takes a few minutes but the VCards will convert to Contacts in Address book and your notes formatting will be preserved.

  3. We are trying to export 1200 contacts from Outlook for Mac 2011 into Excel. Having huge problems as notes are appearing in the first name column so the entire Excel file is incorrect. Any solution? We categorized all contacts (over 6000) in Outlook and just need to mail to a portion of the list. Any help greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Maybe I can help, though I’ve never tried exporting Contacts for import into Excel, and never from a Mac. You’d have exported as CSV (comma-separated) or tab-delimited text, and then tried to import into Excel. I’ve done a lot of other imports into Excel for PC, and you always get a field-mapping dialog so you can control how the columns match the data.

      Sorry to say, Office for Mac is severely watered down. With 1200 Contacts, if you are not getting the field-mapping tool in Excel for Mac, try using someone’s Office for Windows with the file. If THAT doesn;t work, see if you can convert the Mac Outlook Contacts over to Outlook for Windows and just doing the conversion work on the PC side. Sorry, bad news I know, but it beats entering 1200 by hand.

      I puzzled over why MS would offer such an inferior version for Mac. Word Find and Replace in PC is powerful enough that I use it for programming data file conversions sometimes. It’s pathetic on Mac. I guess if they offered an equally good Mac version of Office, why would people bother with Windows at all? Just keep trying, and you will get the job done. Good luck!

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