Jan 1, 2011

Getting Outlook Contacts To the Mac’s Address Book

I use both Windows and Mac computers. My main email program is Outlook and I keep all my contact information there. I recently got an iPad and thought it would be nice to have my contact information in a portable device. The vCard format was designed to be portable so I thought I would use it to transfer the data. As a text I exported a single vCard and sent it in Outlook to my gmail account. On my mac I used the Mail program to download my gmail but the vCard got turned into a winmail.dat attachment and it wasn’t clear how to turn it back into anything useful. I then just used a browser to read my gmail and downloaded the vCard to my Mac and imported it into the Address Book application with no problem. In fact it noticed that I already had this contact in my address book and offered to merge the new information in. Worked like a charm.

Doing Many vCards At Once

If you have more than about 10 people in your contact database you’re going to get really tired of doing this one card at a time. Thanks to a stack overflow comment by Jonas Lincoln I learned you can just use the DOS copy command to merge all your vCards into a single file. Select all your contacts in Outlook and drag them into a new email that you send to yourself. WARNING: I tried this with 700+ contacts and it can look like Outlook is hung but after 5-10 minutes it did complete the task. You don’t even have to send the email just setting it up creates the vCards . Now drag the vCards to a folder on your hard drive.  Then:

  1. Open a DOS Prompt
  2. Navigate to where you stored the vCards (I like to copy the address from a Windows folder and just right-click to paste it after the cd command in DOS.
  3. Use the DOS copy command :  copy /a *.vcf   AllCards.vcf
  4. Send AllCards.vcf to your Mac
  5. Drag AllCards.vcf from the Finder onto the open window of the Address Book application.

You will receive a prompt, but by default the import process will merge any duplicate contacts. Sync your iPad/iTouch/iPhone with your Mac and you have all your Windows contacts available on the go.

About Me

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Tod Gentille (@todgentille) is now a Curriculum Director for Pluralsight. He's been programming professionally since well before you were born and was a software consultant for most of his career. He's also a father, husband, drummer, and windsurfer. He wants to be a guitar player but he just hasn't got the chops for it.