How to share contacts in Microsoft Outlook


Microsoft Outlook provides a feature that allows you export your contacts as a PST file to be able to import to other Outlook accounts.

Of course, the changes each person makes to his contact list won’t be apparent to the other users until the PST file has been re-exported with the updated information and then re-imported by each of the other users.

However, apart from this manual approach, users can use a number of add-on for Outlook, which automatically sync contacts between multiple user accounts without Exchange Server. This article will introduce you two methods to be able to share contacts in MS Outlook.

4Team’s ShareO is an add-on that allows users to share and sync any Outlook folders without using Exchange Server. The program works with all versions of Outlook from 2000 through 2010 but runs only on Windows PCs. 4Team also offers the Share Contacts program that syncs only Outlook contacts.

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The export/import approach to sharing Outlook contacts

To export contacts from Outlook 2003 and 2007, click File->Import and Export. In Outlook 2010, click File->Open->Import. In all three versions, select “Export to a file” under “Choose an action to perform” in the Import and Export Wizard and then click Next.

Give the file a unique name, click the Browse button, and choose a location to store your exported contacts file (or accept the default location Outlook chooses for you). The option to replace duplicates with items being exported is chosen by default. You can elect to allow duplicates or to exclude duplicate entries from the exported file. Finally, click Finish.

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To import the contacts to another Outlook account, sign in to the account and choose File->Import and Export (Outlook 2003 and 2007) or File->Open->Import (Outlook 2010). Select “Import from another program or file” under Choose an Action to Perform and click Next. Click Personal Folder File (.pst) or Outlook Data File (.pst), depending on your version of Outlook, and click Next.

In the “File to import” window, click Browse and navigate to the PST file you exported in the previous step. Choose the Contacts folder, check “Include subfolders,” if necessary, select “Import items into the current folder,” and click Finish.

Outlook add-on syncs shared contact lists

The manual import-export process for contacts (and other Outlook data folders) is sufficient for a single user who simply wants to access the same contact list in multiple Outlook profiles, but it won’t meet the needs of two or more people who want to combine their separate contact databases into a single repository without using an Exchange server.

The ShareO add-on for Outlook promises to sync multiple contact folders (and other Outlook folders) among a group of users. The program also lets you share and sync e-mail, calendars, tasks, and other Outlook folders.

After you download and install the add-on, it places a ShareO option on the main menu in Outlook 2003 and in the ribbon of Outlook 2007 and 2010.

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To export your contacts to another Outlook profile, select the Contacts folder (or any other folder you want to share) and click Share on the ShareO menu to open the program’s sharing wizard. Click the plus button and enter the recipient’s name and e-mail address, or select the person’s entry from the list if you’ve shared with them previously, and click Next.

On the next screen, check the items you want to share, and click Next again. (Note that ShareO’s filters for restricting the items you share doesn’t work in the trial version.) Select the advanced-sharing option to access more sharing controls. Once you’ve stepped through the wizard, click Finish to begin the folder export.

Depending on the size of the folder, it can take several minutes for the information to be packaged and delivered. When the recipient (who must also have ShareO installed) receives the folder, he is instructed to select a destination for it, or he may reject the folder. The program identifies duplicate entries and places potential conflicts in a separate folder for your review.

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The recipient is also alerted to the presence of duplicate entries and is given the option to view and resolve the conflicts. To sync a shared folder, simply click the Sync button on the ShareO menu. ShareO lets you create shared folders that can be viewed by people who don’t have ShareO installed.

You can prevent private items from being shared and otherwise customize the information that you share with others. For example, when sharing calendars you can indicate free and busy times without having to provide details. The add-on also lets you share files and folders via public or private shared folders, encrypt the data you share, and restrict access to the data on a user-by-user basis.

4Team also makes the Sync2 program that syncs data between Outlook and Google Calendars and Contacts.

See more: How to Copy and Paste in Microsoft Outlook