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by Kevin Lee, Demand Media
Manage your important business contacts using contact lists.

Manage your important business contacts using contact lists.

Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

As a business owner, you probably interact with multiple contact lists daily. These lists containing client or customer information might reside in Outlook, on a cell phone or even in an online calendar application. Your Excel spreadsheets may contain contact information that you’d like to store in one of these applications. By configuring your spreadsheet, you can convert it into a comma-delimited contact list that other applications can load.

Prepare the Spreadsheet

Step 1

Launch Excel and open your spreadsheet that contains contact information. A typical spreadsheet with this information contains several columns that identify each contact. "Name," "Email Address" and "Phone Number" are common column headings.

Step 2

Add column headings if none exist. Do this by right-clicking the row number to the left of the spreadsheet's first cell and selecting "Insert." Excel adds a new row at the top of the spreadsheet. Type headings in each of the row’s cells. Each column heading should describe the column’s data. For example, you might name a heading “Zip” if the column contains Zip Codes.

Related Reading: How to Convert an Excel File Into a SharePoint Business Contact List

Step 3

Hide columns that you don’t want in the contact list by right-clicking their column headings and selecting “Hide.” Hide multiple columns by holding down the “Shift” key and clicking the desired column headings to highlight them. Right-click any selected column heading and select “Hide” to hide them all.

Step 4

Verify that the spreadsheet cells contain all the information you’ll want in your contact list. Look for blank cells and add the information if you have it.

Step 5

Click the column heading that contains the contact’s name, then click the ribbon’s “Home” tab. Click “Sort & Filter,” then click “A to Z” to sort the rows in alphabetical order.

Step 6

Reorder columns if desired. For instance, if you’d like a “Phone Number” column to appear before an “Email Address” column, click the column heading you’d like to move to highlight the column. Move your mouse cursor to the column’s edge until it changes into an arrow. Hold down your “Shift” key and drag the column where you want it.

Create Contact List

Step 1

Click 'File," then "Save As."

Step 2

Type a name for the contact list in the "File Name" text box. Click the "Save as Type" drop-down box and select "Microsoft Excel 5.0/95 Workbook (xls)." Click "Save" to save the file as another Excel spreadsheet. Doing this ensures that you can return to the spreadsheet later and update if needed.

Step 3

Click "File" again and click "Save As" to reopen the "Save As" window.

Step 4

Click the "Save As Type" drop-down box and select "CSV (Comma Delimited) (.csv). Click "Save." Excel saves the spreadsheet as a comma-delimited file.

Step 5

Open Windows Explorer and find the file. Right-click it to display a menu of options. Hold your mouse over the “Open With” option and click “Notepad” to open the file in Notepad. You will see the values from your spreadsheet. Commas separate each value that appears on a line.


  • Import your comma-delimited file into the desired application as a contact list. Consult your application’s documentation to learn how to perform this task.
  • You can make changes directly to the comma-delimited file by editing the information in Notepad. You also have the option to reopen the spreadsheet you saved, make your changes in Excel and create a new comma-delimited file.

References (2)

  • Microsoft Office: Sort Data in a Range or Table
  • California State University: Import Contact Data Into Microsoft Outlook

Resources (2)

  • Contact DB: Importance of Business Contact List Unveiled
  • Excel Tip: Home Page

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

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