If you have ever struggled with managing your Outlook contacts, you are not alone. Do you find it tedious to search for each contact and update their information manually?
Many people have experienced this difficulty, particularly when they have a large number of contacts to manage.
In addition to being an integral component of Microsoft Office, Outlook is widely used for e-mail, scheduling, and information management.
However, it is difficult to manage Outlook contacts efficiently for many people.
If you’re having trouble managing your Outlook contacts, merge them. Merging Outlook contacts will simplify your contacts’ information, making it easier to manage and update.
By using this simple trick, you can store all your contacts in one place and eliminate the need to search for each one individually.
In this article, we’ll take you through the process of merging your Outlook contacts.
Causes of Duplicate Contacts in Outlook
There are multiple reasons that can lead to duplicate contacts in Microsoft Outlook, such as:
- Contact is imported from various locations which brings duplicate contact.
- Sometimes PST files you import already consist of contact which is already in your Outlook Contacts list.
- Creating Contact by Dragging the emails multiple times.
- Using multiple email accounts or mailboxes in one Outlook client.
- Using the Outlook app on a smartphone or integrating social media accounts.
- Copy the contacts from the Duplicates folder back into your main Contacts folder.
How Outlook merges duplicate contacts manually?
There are numerous ways to merge duplicate contacts in Outlook. If you have fewer contacts, you can manually select and delete each duplicate contact.
The other method is to select all the contacts at once. Another method described in extensive detail below is exporting the contacts file and re-importing them.
In this way, you can use the built-in feature to check for duplicate contacts.
Enable Check for Duplicates
In Microsoft Outlook when you create a new contact use the (Ctrl + N) keyboard Shortcut in the People section or click on the New Contact from the top left corner of the screen.
That will open a new contact form you can fill the form and simply save and close it, your contact details are saved in the address book.
The Problem occurs when you create a new contact with similar details, and the contact again saves in the address book, now you have two contacts with the same details.
You can get rid of It!
That means you need to enable “Duplicate Contact Detector“.
- Click the File tab from the top left corner of the screen.
- Click on Options.
- Select people from the left navigation section.
- Under Names and Filling, you will get the option “Check for Duplicates when saving new contacts“.
- Enable the Checkbox and Click OK.
Now Try to create a new contact with the same credentials, this time you will get a Duplicate Contact Detector dialog box.
How to Prevent Duplicate Contacts in Your Outlook
This system detects duplicate contact in case any input matches the details of existing contact already saved in your contact (Address Book).
The duplicate Contact Detector dialog box consists of two options:
- Add New Contact – This option is selected when you need to create a new contact with similar details.
- Update information of selected contact – That will give you a few similar contacts which match the partial/entire inputs with the new one, select the one you need to merge your new contact with and click update.
This option only works when you create a new contact, and you have a similar one already available in the contact list.
Methods to Merge/Delete Outlook Contacts
In most cases, Outlook will prevent duplication when you attempt to import a PST. However, if you have a lot of duplicate contacts in your address book already, you will have to use a special technique to remove them, a proper scanning is required to Merge/Delete Outlook Contacts.
That brings a couple of methods to Merge/Delete Outlook Duplicate Contacts:
Merge Contacts from Outlook Using Gmail
Gmail (which I guess most people have these days) can be used to merge duplicate Outlook contacts.
I guess you already have a .csv file in your computer folder, import it to your Gmail account, use Gmail’s “Find and merge duplicates” function, and then import the deduped contacts back into Outlook.
Let’s check out the detailed explanation:
- Log into your Gmail account, navigate to Contacts, and then click Import Contacts.
- Click the Select File button and browse to the .csv file you created earlier in the above steps.
You can access and review each imported file later by creating a new contact group in Gmail.
Once your contacts are imported, you will get the list of all your contacts, you need to select the entire list of contact and select any one of the contacts that will enable the select the checkbox, on the heading row you can also get the notification above the screen.
After selecting the entire list an additional icon “MERGE” appears in the heading.
Once you click on it all the duplicate contacts are removed from the list. Next, you need to export the contacts left in the list.
Once again from the left navigation panel, you will see an option “Export“, click on it. that will watch you through another set of options.
under the second option, you need to select the calendar from the dropdown you need to export and select the one you have cleared all duplicate contacts from.
Next, you need to select the format:
- Google CSV
- Outlook CSV
- vCard (for iOS Contacts)
Select Outlook CSV format, then click the Export button to finish the export process.
Merge duplicate contacts using Import & Export
The method described in great detail below is to export the contacts file and re-import it. In this way, you can take advantage of the built-in feature to check for duplicate contacts.
Currently, the contact folder is already available in the navigation section, mostly, experimenting with any data required a safety layer, so before exporting the contacts it is recommended to create a copy of it.
Click on the contact from the left navigation panel, or you can also use the keyboard shortcut Control (CTRL + 3), in most cases contact is available in the third place in the Outlook application.
In the left navigation panel, a list of the folder with contact is available, right click on your current Contacts folder and select New Folder… from the context menu.
Create New Folder dialog box appears, name your folder “keep it simple to remember late on. I give the name “Merge Contact.”
To move all your Outlook contacts to the newly created folder, switch to your current contacts folder, press CTRL+A to select all the contacts, then press CTRL+SHIFT+V.
That will open the Move item dialog box, select the newly created contact folder and click OK, that will transfer all the contacts from the current folder to the new folder.
It will take a few seconds to transfer all contacts to the new folder.
Now you have two folders, first your original folder which is empty, and the one you created with all the contacts.
Now let’s begin the process of Export and Import
The first method is to export the contact data, which required the following steps:
Note: – It is better to first select the folder before starting exporting process, you will be redirected directly to the folder, which will avoid unnecessary time to find the folder.
Click File Tab from the top left corner of the screen, and from the left navigation section, click on Open and Export.
That will take you to another set of options, click import and export from there.
Import and Export Wizard Dialog Box appears, which consists of multiple options.
Select Export to a file, and click next, further you need to select “comma separated values“
Click Next, and Select Folder to Export from, and you will get all the email addresses along with all the folders added in the Outlook application, you need to select the contact folder you have recently created and moved all the contact in it.
Click Next, select the location, and save the exported file. In a few seconds, your Excel file in the form of (.csv), is downloaded to your desired location.
Technically that is the end of the first stage which is exporting your contact file.
Next is Importing contacts from the CSV file.
Now we have to focus on three ingredients:
- Empty Contact Folder
- Contact Folder from where all contacts are exported
- (.CSV file)
First, click on the File tab available in the top left corner of the screen. Click on Open & Export and click Import/Export.
Next from the Import and Export wizard, Choose Import from another program or file and click Next.
Select Comma Separated Values and click Next. Import a File dialog box appears, click on browse and select the file from the location you saved your file.
From the Options select “Do not import duplicate items“. This is only one option that works for you!
Click Next, be careful, here you need to import your contacts into your main Contacts folder which is currently empty from the Import a file dialog box and click Next.
Finally, click finish, that way you can cross-check, and all the duplicate contact is removed from the folder.
In conclusion, merging Outlook contacts is a simple yet effective way to manage and organize your contact list.
Whether you have multiple accounts or have accumulated duplicate contacts over time, merging them can save you time and frustration.
With the step-by-step process outlined in this post, you can easily merge your contacts in Outlook and have a clean and streamlined list to work with.
So, take some time to merge your contacts today and enjoy the benefits of a more efficient workflow.