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How to Backup Your Outlook Contacts

Posted by Roger Hyttinen on

These days, very few people maintain their list of contacts in paper address books. Instead, most of our contacts are stored in Outlook or in another email program or contacts application.

But computers break and hard drives crash, leading many people to realize too late that they had neglected make a backup of their contacts. Thus, it is important to regularly back up your Outlook contacts, especially if they are important business contacts or if they are not stored anywhere else.

It is recommended that you do not store your backup file on your main computer. If your hard drive dies, you've lost your Outlook contacts and your backups. Rather, use an external drive or a cloud drive for your backup.

Quick Guide: To Backup Your Outlook Contacts

  1. Click the File tab on the Ribbon.
  2. Click Open & Export in the left pane.
  3. Click the Import and Export icon in the center pane.
  4. Click Export to a File and then click Next.

    Click Export to a File

  5. Choose Outlook Data File (.pst) and then click Next.

    Click Outlook Data File (.pst)

  6. Click your Contacts folder in the window and then click Next.

    Click your contacts folder in the window

  7. Click the Browse button, choose a location for the file and type a name for your backup file.
  8. Click OK
  9. Click Finish
  10. Type in the password settings if you want to require a password in order to open the file. This is optional. If you don't want to use a password, leave the password and verify boxes blank.  

    Type in your password information

  11. Click OK.

Now you can breathe easier knowing that your contacts are stored in an external location which can easily imported into Outlook should the need arise.


Looking for more Outlook tips? Our Outlook 2016: Up To Speed guide is now available as an ebook from Amazon and Kobo. The Up To Speed series is designed to help you get productive quickly with your software. Check back as new titles will be added regularly.

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