Importing Contacts From Outlook

by QuickBooks Canada Team

2 min read

Monster Outlook files, full of those old emails and invites: a lot of us have them. Maybe your particular one contains your contact list with everyone you’ve ever met or done business with, or hope to work with. QuickBooks Online is a great customer management tool, but you need to get info like this in there. Here’s how:


  • Create an export file of your contacts in Outlook (this is a good thing to do anyway as a back-up of your contacts).
    • (If you’re using Outlook 2010: On the upper left, click the Office button/Click Save/Click Export. This will open the Import/Export Wizard. If using Outlook 2007 or older: Under the File menu in Outlook, select the option for Import and Export. This will open the Import Export Wizard.)
  • Select export to a File and choose the type Comma Separated Values. A Comma Separated Values file (CSV) is a file format which some people use instead of an Excel file.
  • Select the folder you keep your customer contacts in, and follow the on-screen instructions to save as an export file. Make sure to take note of where the file is saved.

NOTE! You’ll need to create individual spreadsheets for each type of contact. Supplier contacts must be in one spreadsheet, customers in another, and so on.

Step 2

Open up QuickBooks Online.

  • From the Company menu choose More and then Import Data.
  • Click Customers (or Clients, if you chose that name instead in the ‘Terminology for Client’ preference), or click Suppliers.
  • Click Browse, find your Excel file, click Open, then Continue.
  • After a few moments, you’ll see a list of records available to import. It’ll also show you what QBO fields the information is mapped to. You can adjust where the information is mapped to if you like. If you’re happy with how it looks, click Import Records.
  • If some of the data isn’t mapping perfectly (and this can happen if contact info was originally entered in an inconsistent way), you might get a list of exceptions. No worries. Simply click on each exception to edit the incorrect or missing information.

You’re all set! Congratulations!

Special tip #1: for people with foreign customers. If your customers’ country or currency codes don’t match the codes that QuickBooks uses, you’ll be notified of these exceptions and QBO will ask you to change them. You’ll need to update each exception before you can complete the import.

Special Tip #2: the file size limit is 2MB or 1000 rows maximum in both Excel and Outlook files. If you’re a networking guru and need to import a bigger file, you can simply split it into sections and do multiple imports.

Special Tip #3 For Gmail users: want to import your contacts from Gmail? We can help! Click the link for more instructions

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