Backup Outlook Contacts

There are only 2 ways to backup Outlook contacts: using the built-in Outlook Export option, or special software for backup.

First Backup Strategy: Export Contacts from Outlook

All Outlook versions have the built-in options to export contacts. This backup strategy has its pros and cons:


  • There is no need in additional backup software
  • You can select the specific elements that you want to save (for example, only Outlook contacts) and store them in a convenient format (.pst file, text file, etc.)

The main disadvantage of that strategy you have to make extra efforts for backup: transfer exported file to a flash drive or cloud storage (in the case of a hard drive crash, all files on the disk will be lost).

If you choose Export option to backup Outlook 2007 contacts, remember that there is also the Offline Address Book (OAB) in this version of Outlook (loads its data to .OST file).

Your goal is to save only your contacts, not OAB, because OAB is only a copy of the address book downloaded to your computer from Exchange Server (so, backup of this file does not make much sense). A similar situation arises when you want to backup Outlook 2010 contacts.

Example: how to backup Outlook 2010 contacts with “Export” option

  1. Select File tab, then Options in the menu.
  2. Choose Advanced, then Export option.
  3. Select Export to a file, then Next.
  4. There are several options of file formats you can use, choose Outlook Data File (.pst)
  5. On this step select only the Contacts folder.
  6. Choose a location for saving file, enter the file name, click OK.

Second Backup Strategy: Using Special Software for Backup

Using third-party software also has its pros and cons:


  • The program can make an automatic and scheduled backup on any-type-storage or to the clouds, removing routine procedures related to exports (and further copying files) from user completely.
  • Program-based Outlook contact backup is more reliable, because of possible user’s errors during export process (not selecting required fields or saving the data in uncommon format, unsuitable for automatic restoration)

The main disadvantage of this strategy is the backup programs usually are not able to backup Outlook contacts separately (usually do a full backup instead), this increases the space needed to store your backups. However, in the era of disk-space-decrease-cost and the availability of large cloud storages, this disadvantage is losing its importance.

Backup Solution

Handy Backup as a specialized backup program can efficiently backup Outlook contacts. Read more about Outlook backup.


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