As a business owner, you need to keep track of your contacts. Lost contact information could mean a lost opportunity to do business. You can't follow through with a potential customer if you don't know how to reach them. With Microsoft Outlook, your contact list is as close as your email with your Outlook contacts list.
you know how, you can do a lot with your MS Outlook contacts. You can create
contact lists in Outlook, share contacts and contact lists with other tools and with other
email users, and even send group messages. Learning how to make the most of
your Outlook contacts is a great way to get organized.
this tutorial, you'll learn all the basics including how to add contacts to
Outlook and how to create a contact group in Outlook. We'll also examine some
of the more advanced features such as how to share a contact group in Outlook.
Let's get started.
Why Your Microsoft Outlook Contacts Are Important
A contact in MS Outlook is a person or business that you contact frequently. For frequent contacts, Outlook allows you to keep multiple online address books right inside your email.
Each entry in your email address book is known as a contact. As a business professional, or just someone who relies on email, having your address books online is convenient. It also means you never need to worry about losing a contact’s information again.
find your Outlook address book, click the Address
Book icon (it looks like an open book) on the right of your Home tab. The Address Book: Contacts dialog box displays with some basic
information about each contact:
Your default address book is Contacts – [Your Email Address], but you can create additional address books as needed.
To view more detailed information about a contact, double-click on their name to open their contact card:
As you can see, your contact card includes more than just your contact’s email address. In addition to the ability to store up to three email addresses for each contact, there are fields for you to enter the following information:
- Job title
- Web page address
- IM address
- Phone numbers (Business, Home, Business Fax, Mobile, and many more)
(up to three physical addresses per contact)
can even attach an image to the contact card if you’ve got one. Plus, there’s a
Notes field for you to type
only does your Outlook address book allow you to organize and find contact
information quickly, you can also use it to send group emails by means of
contact groups. Learn more about Microsoft Outlook in these tutorials:
- Microsoft OutlookHow to Compose & Send New Emails With Microsoft OutlookLaura Spencer
- Microsoft OutlookHow to Organize Your Outlook Email Inbox EfficientlyLaura Spencer
- GmailGmail vs Outlook: What’s the Best (Free) Email Service?Laura Spencer
Learn Helpful Email Organizational Tips & Strategies
Before we tackle to topic of how to organize your MS Outlook contacts, don't forget to sign up to the Tuts+ Business newsletter and grab our free eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Inbox Zero Mastery. It's packed with inbox organization strategies and killer tips for managing all your incoming email more efficiently.
Now let's move on to learning about contacts and contact groups in MS Outlook:
1. How to Create New Contacts in MS Outlook
that you understand the importance of your Outlook address book, you’re ready
to begin building your contact list by creating new contacts. There are
basically two methods you can use to add contacts to Outlook:
- from within an address book
- from within an email
examine each method separately.
1. How to Add Contacts to Outlook From Your Address Book
method of adding contact information is especially helpful if you’ve got
business cards you want to add to your contacts in MS Outlook. Having your
contact information neatly organized in your email inbox is much better than
keeping a stack of cards, which might get lost or accidentally discarded.
start, open an address book in MS Outlook and right-click anywhere within the
address book. A pop-up menu appears:
the New Entry option. The New Entry dialog box displays:
Select the New
Contact option and click OK.
You’ll see a blank Contact Card:
out each contact field with the appropriate information.
you see a down arrow the right of a field, you can click on it add additional
information. In the example below, there are three types of addresses you can
add to a contact card:
you’ve finished typing in your contact’s information, select Save & New to save the contact and
continue adding contacts to your address book. Or, select Save & Delete to return to the Address Book: Contacts dialog box.
Step 2. How to Add Contacts to Outlook from an Email
you receive an email from a new contact and you want to save their information
in your MS Outlook address book, it’s easy to do so. Start with the email that
contains the contact information open:
on the sender’s address. A pop-up menu appears:
the Add to Outlook Contacts option.
A contact card opens with the sender’s name and email address already filled.
If you’ve got additional information about this contact, add it to their
contact information now.
you’re done adding information click Save
& Close or Save & New to
save the contact to your address book.
3. How to Add an Image to an Contact
you’ve got it, you can add an image or logo to a contact card. Start by opening
the contact card of the individual you want to add the image to. Click the Add Contact Picture icon to the right
of the individual’s name. A browser window opens:
Navigate to the file with the image you want to add. Click
on it to select it and click OK. The
image you selected now appears on the contact card:
Step 4. How to Delete a Contact
Occasionally, you may want to delete a contact. The information may no longer be valid, or you may no longer need it.
Fortunately, it’s easy to delete a contact in Outlook. Start by opening the Address Book: Contacts dialog box. Click the name of the contact you want to delete to select it. Next, right-click anywhere in the dialog box. The pop-up menu displays:
the Delete option. The system
prompts you to confirm that you really want to delete the contact:
Click Yes and the contact is removed from your MS Outlook address book.
3. Build a Contact Group
you need to send more than one message to the same group of people, a contact
group can help you save time by letting you send the same message to all
members in your group at one time. By using a contact group, you can be sure
everyone got the same information. Best of all, you eliminate the risk of
forgetting to send the email to someone—which you might do if you emailed each
group member separately.
This feature was known as the
Distribution List in some earlier versions of Outlook.)
take a closer look at contact groups.
1. How to Create a Contact Group in Outlook
by opening the People window. Click
on the three dots in the lower left corner MS Outlook. The Navigation Options pop-up menu appears:
the People option from the pop-up
menu. The People window displays
with a complete list of your contacts:
Click the New Contact
Group in the Ribbon. An empty Contact Group window appears:
Type the name of the contact group you wish to create in the Name field. Now that you’ve created a new contact group, you’re ready to begin adding contacts to it.
Step 2. How to Add Contacts to an Outlook Contact Group
To add new contacts to a contact group, start
with the empty Contact Group window
open. Click the Add Member icon in
the ribbon. A pop-up menu displays:
can choose between selecting members from your existing Outlook contacts, from
your address book, or creating a new email contact to add to the contact group.
If you choose the From Outlook Contacts or the From Address Book option from the pop-up menu, the Select Members: Contacts window displays. You can choose a contact name from that.
For this example, we’re going to choose the New E-mail Contact option. Rather than getting the full contact card, the Add New Member dialog box appears:
in the name and address of the contact you wish to add to the group. Notice
that the checkbox next to Add to
Contacts is checked by default. If you uncheck it, the contact will be
added to your new contact group, but not to your address book. This can be
helpful if you only need to contact this person as part of the group.
Once you’ve entered your information, click OK. The contact is now added to your contact group. Continue adding as many contacts to the group as you need.
When you’re done adding members to your new contact group, click the Save & Close icon in the upper left of the Contact Group window.
Step 3. How to Use Your Contact Group
next time you’re ready to send a message to the members of your contact group,
simply type the contact group name in the To
field. Click the Send button when your message is complete. The message will be sent to all members of your contact group:
Step 4. How to Rename a Contact Group
you’ve created a contact group, you can rename it. For example, if a project
ends and the project group is assigned to a new project you might want to
rename your contact group.
rename your group, open the Navigation
pop-up menu and select the People
Contacts window appears:
contact group name appears at the top of the contact list (next to the people
icon). Click the contact group to
select it. Double-click on the selected contact group to open the Contact Group window:
a new contact group name in the Name
field. When you’re done, click the Update
Now icon. Or, click the Save &
Close icon to save your changes and exit the window.
5. How to Change the Contacts in an MS Outlook Contact Group
Email lists tend to be fluid. Group members change over time. Outlook email can help you keep up.
You can quickly and easily change the contact group
members from the Contact Group
window. You can assign new contacts to the contact group or even delete existing
group members. Start with the Contact Group window open:
Let’s start by adding a new member to the existing contact group. Double-click the Add Members icon in the Ribbon. You’re given a choice to add a member from your Outlook contacts list, your address book, or to type in a new email contact. After you’ve finished adding a member, click on the Update Now icon in the Ribbon.
remove a member from the contact group, click the member name to select it.
Next, click the Remove Member icon
in the Ribbon. The member’s contact
information is removed from the contact group. (They’re not, however, removed
from your Outlook email contacts list.)
you’ve finished making changes to your contact group, click the Save & Close icon on the left of
the Ribbon to exit from the window.
6. How to Delete a Contact Group
time to time, you may wish to delete a contact group entirely. Maybe you no
longer need to contact the group members.
To delete a contact group from your MS Outlook email, start with the Contacts window open. Your contact groups appear at the top of the list.
Click the contact group you want to delete to select it. Click the Delete icon (it looks like an X) in the Ribbon. Your contact group is deleted.
4. Share Contact Info & Contact Groups
you use your Outlook email for business or personal use, it’s helpful and
timesaving to be able to share contact information with other MS Outlook users
and with Microsoft OneNote. In Outlook, you can share contacts with OneNote or
with other Outlook users.
is a note-taking application that’s part of Microsoft Office. To learn more
about OneNote, review this tutorial:
1. How to Send Contact Info to OneNote
with the Contacts window open. Click
on a contact to select them, then click the OneNote icon in the Ribbon.
The Select Location in OneNote
dialog box appears:
the My Notebook option and select
the OneNote notebook where you want to store the contact information. Click OK. Your information is added to
OneNote in the notebook you selected:
Note: You can also share Outlook contact card information to OneNote.
2. How to Share a Contact or Contact Group in Outlook
If someone else needs your contact information or even your contact group, you can quickly and easily share the information with them through Outlook email.
Start with the Contacts
window open. Click on the Outlook item you want to share to select it. The item
can be a contact group or an individual contact. In this example, I'm demonstrating how to share a contact group in Outlook.
Click Forward Contact on the Ribbon to bring up the pop-up menu:
Note: Contact groups can only be forwarded as an Outlook contact. Individual contacts
can be forwarded as either an Outlook contact or a business card.
the option for the format of the contact item. An email Compose window opens with the contact item already attached:
in the email address of the person you want to receive the information. It’s
also a good idea to add some text in the body of the message so your item
doesn’t end up in the spam folder. When you’re done, click the Send button.
Ways to Use Your Contact Groups
Once you’ve entered your contacts into Outlook and organized them into groups you’ll find that there are many uses for Outlook contact groups. Here are just few ideas:
- Project messages. If you need to send the same information to all your project team members, contact groups are a great tool. Make sure everyone on your team is on the same page.
- Meetings. While there are other ways to send out meeting notices, sending one through email via a contact group allows you to add attachments and other details.
- Announcements. If your business does company-wide announcements, or even department-wide announcements a group email sent using a contact list can help get the word out.
- Notifications and alerts. If you need to alert a group of clients about a software upgrade or other system changes, a contact list can ensure your message reaches the right people.
- Social events. Contact groups are also a great tool for organizing social events such as parties, group get-togethers, sporting events and other social occasions.
a contact group to send a message to more than one person is practical and
timesaving. Once you become comfortable
using contact groups, you’ll be able to think of your own unique uses for them.
Organize Your Email With Better Inbox Management
You're less likely to have a cluttered MS Outlook inbox if you're following good email management practices. Learn how to
reduce your email inbox clutter
with our free eBook:
Now that you know how to add contacts to Outlook and how to organize those contacts into contact groups once you've added them, you're ready to make full use of MS Outlook contacts for your business and personal life. Start by creating a contact group in Outlook today.
How do you use Outlook contacts in your business? Do you make use of MS Outlook contact groups? Share your thoughts (or tips) in the comments below.