How to download Outlook contacts and the Distribution List

by Teodor Nechita
Teodor Nechita
Teodor Nechita
Software Managing Editor
Eager to help those in need, Teodor writes articles daily on subjects regarding Windows, Xbox, and all things tech-related. When not working, you may usually find him either... read more
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Microsoft Outlook is a pretty solid choice for an email client, especially when used as the go-to email client in a work environment.

If you are using it in a work environment, your contact list will probably be quite big and filled with important details.

Because of this, you may need to sometimes download your entire contact list, and have it in a more manageable format for you to use.

Your contacts are stored in either the Outlook Distribution List (DL) and the Global Address Book (GAB).

This step-by-step guide will show you how you can download your Microsoft Outlook contacts, in one way or another.

How to export my Outlook contacts

  1. Open Outlook
  2. Click File
  3. Select Open & Export 
  4. Click Import/Export
  5. Select Export to a file
  6. Choose Comma Separated Values (CSV)
  7. Go to the Select folder to export from box
  8. Select the contacts that are under your account
  9. Choose Browse
  10. Name your file
  11. Choose OK
  12. Confirm the location where you will save your contacts, and click Next
  13. Click Finish

Outlook Import Export

Exporting contacts seems complicated? Check out the Outlook Business Contact Manager!

How do I download my Outlook Distribution List?

1. Download the Outlook Distribution List from the Outlook desktop client

  1. Open Outlook
  2. Start a new email
  3. Click the To button
  4. Select the distribution list you need to save in CSV
  5. Click the + sign to expand the members
  6. Select all the members of the distribution list
  7. Copy them
  8. Close the email
  9. Go to Home 
  10. Select New items
  11. Choose More items 
  12. Click on Contact group
  13. Go to Add members 
  14. Select From Address book
  15. Paste the names and emails in the Members field
  16. Go to File
  17. Select Save As
  18. Save the contact group as a TXT file
  19. Open the txt file you just created and remove the first row from it
  20. Save the TXT file as CSV file.
    • You will have  to select All files and add .csv manually at the end of its title

Outlook Contact Groups

Your file should now be saved as a CSV file, and you will now need to open it in Microsoft Excel to format it better

  1. Open Microsoft Excel
  2. Go to Data
  3. Select From Text
  4. Choose Delimited
  5. Select Tab or Comma
    • You will get to see a preview of how it will look, and this will let you choose appropriately
  6. Click Finish

2. Download the Outlook Distribution List from the Outlook web client

  1. Go to the People page
  2. Select Manage
  3. Click Export contacts
  4. Choose to export all contacts from a specific folder
  5. Click Export
  6. Click Save or Save as (the bottom of the page) to download your Contacts.csv file

How to download the Outlook Global Address Book

  1. Open Outlook
  2. Go to File
  3. Select Info 
  4. Go to Account Settings 
  5. Select Download Address Book
    • An Offline Address Book dialog box will pop up
  6. Click the Choose address book box
  7. Select the address book you will download
  8. Click the OK button

Download Address Book

Want an email client you can import contacts from easier? Check out this list of out top picks!

How to import your Outlook contacts to iPhone

1. If you are running iOS 10 or 11:

  1. Navigate to Setting 
  2. Tap Contacts 
  3. Select Accounts 
  4. Check Add Account
  5. Select and log into Outlook

2. If you are running iOS 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13:

  1. Navigate to Setting
  2. Select Mail
  3. Select Contacts
  4. Choose Calendar
  5. Tap on Add Account
  6. Select and log into Outlook
  7. Turn on the Contacts
  8. Tap Save

By following any of the steps above, you will be able to download and manage your contacts list in a more manageable fashion.

If you know any other way of downloading your Microsoft Outlook contact list, share with us in teh comments section below.