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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Getting your contacts to your phone (via Outlook)

Lets assume that your phone or portable device. You have a list of names and numbers (or you create one) saved to a text file like so:

dave - 234-2345
allen - 938-2393
kelly - 233-2344

Since almost every device talks to Microsoft Outlook, we're going to assume you get a copy. You will also need a word processor and spreadsheet program.

Note you can easily do this with older versions (XP and 2003) of Word, Excel, and Outlook, which are all cheap. Also, with the exception of Outlook, all these functions can be performed (easier in some cases) with the free OpenOffice. Just post a comment if you'd like a howto for that program.

Step 1:

The first thing you'll need to do is change those first "-" characters between the names and numbers. It will only confuse your spreadsheet program:
  1. Open the list in Word and choose Edit - Replace ... and type " - " into the first box and "," into the replacement box. Replace All. This will make all of your names and numbers separated by just a comma.
  2. File - Save As and choose Plain Text (txt) from the Save as Type drop-down menu. If prompted about text format, just choose the default.
  3. Close Word
Step 2:

Open the text file in Excel and import it into a format readable by Outlook.
  1. In the Text Import Wizard that appears, select Delimited (this should be the default). Choose next and make sure you check the box next to the comma icon. Choose Next and Finish
  2. Follow these directions to save the file to CSV and import to Outlook.

You're done! This saved me a lot of time and energy getting my new phone setup.

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