Backup Outlook Contacts

Backup Outlook contactsThere are 2 ways to backup Outlook contacts: using the built-in Outlook Export option, or special software for backup. These strategies have pros and cons.

Manual 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 2010 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 2007 contacts.

Example 1: 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.

Example 2: How to Export Outlook 2021 Contacts

To export contacts from Outlook 2021, navigate to the People section from the left navigation bar. In the Home tab, select Manage Contacts, then choose Export Contacts. Decide which contacts to export and then execute the export. Your contacts will be saved as a .CSV file to your Downloads folder.

Software for Automatic Outlook Contacts 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.

Outlook Backup Software

SolutionRather than manually copying or utilizing the Export function, it's more efficient to employ an Outlook backup software for automated backups. You can try Handy Backup - easy-to-use and reliable backup software with lot of storage options.

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