How to Transfer Outlook Address Book from One System to Another?

Pritam Majumdar
Pritam Majumdar | Updated On - 20 Apr 2022 |

Read time 5 minutes

It’s happened to all of us. We switch from one computer to another, or from one Outlook installation to another, and suddenly our address book is empty. All of our carefully crafted contacts are gone, just when we need them most. Luckily, there are ways to transfer your Personal Address Book (PAB) from one system to another – it just takes a little bit of work. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step. Keep reading to learn more!

Know about Outlook Address Book

If you have a properly installed and configured MS Outlook on your system, then you have a default Outlook Address Book. This Outlook Address Book, generally known as OAB, has the set of Outlook contact folders in it. Now you might be thinking that OAB is a physical address book, which it is not. It is basically a virtual concept, and hence OAB is just a representation of the primary contact folders.

The OAB has a personalized view of the contact folders and nothing more and therefore, it cannot operate independently. Another fact about OAB is that Outlook does not save any OAB file which is not in your data store.

How to transfer Outlook Address Book from one system to another?

Now, when we know all about Outlook Address Book, let’s come to the focus point and discuss how to transfer Outlook Address Book from one system to another.

  • Try Copying the File to A Storage DeviceTo transfer Outlook Address Book from one system to another, copying the file is the best option. So, the first approach that you should try in this case is copying the contact file with the .pab extension. Let’s see how to it:
    1. Launch Outlook.
    2. Select File>Open & Export>Import/ExportOpen MS Outlook
    3. Click on Export to a file.Export to a file
    4. Click Next and select Comma separated values.Select Comma Separated Values
    5. Select Contacts.Select Contacts
    6. Remember to save the file in the .csv extension.Save the file in .csv
    7. Copy the .csv file to any external storage device such as a USB or a floppy.
  • Restoring File to Another SystemRestoring the file to another system is again a good approach to transfer OAB. Let’s know how to do it:
    1. In the new system, insert the external storage device.
    2. Launch Outlook and again go to File>Open & Export>Import/Export.
    3. Select Import from another program or file.Select Import from another program
    4. Click Next and select Comma Separated Values
    5. Select Browse and navigate the storage device along to select the file copied from another system.
    6. Select Do not import duplicate itemsDo not import duplicate items
    7. Click Next and highlight Contacts.

Cons of Transferring Outlook Contacts To a New Computer Manually

You will encounter the following issues while transferring Outlook contacts from one computer to another

  • This process of importing and exporting Outlook contacts is complex.
  • CSV files can only transfer the simplest data. It is not possible to import and export complex data files. In this case, Outlook contacts cannot be moved completely to another computer or a new PC.
  • As CSV cannot distinguish between text and numeric values, it doesn’t support special characters.

These methods are not perfect as there are certain drawbacks but once you complete the above-mentioned steps successfully, you will have the OAB file in your next system. So, this was about transferring the OAB file, but if you are facing issues with Outlook PST like damage or corruption, then you can refer to Kernel for Outlook PST Repair. It is an automated tool that can repair, recover and restore damaged PSTs in a few easy steps.

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Final Wrap

The process of transferring Outlook’s personal address book from one system to another is not a difficult task. However, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind while doing so. In this article, we have discussed the steps involved in the process and also provided some troubleshooting tips in case something goes wrong. We hope that this information will be helpful for you. As an added tip, we recommend Outlook PST Repair that easily fixes your PST file corruption issues.