Article ID: 243476 - View products that this article applies to.
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This article describes how to use the Import and Export Wizard to import text data into Outlook, and export Outlook data to a text file.
Using a text file is helpful when the converters provided with Outlook do not directly match the format of the data you want to import. Most programs can export and import text files, so you can often use a text file as a common file format for exporting and importing data.
The Outlook Import and Export Wizard can import and export the following types of text data:
MS-DOS or WindowsYou should make the decision to use the MS-DOS or Windows converter based on the text character set used in your data. ASCII is a character set used by many MS-DOS programs, and ANSI is a character set used by many Windows programs. The main difference between ASCII and ANSI are the upper 128 characters; the lower 128 characters are the same. The upper 128 characters are often referred to as extended characters. ASCII extended characters include line draw characters while ANSI extended characters include international characters and publishing symbols.
Comma or Tab DelimiterThe character used to separate, or delimit each field in your data determines if you use the comma or tab separated converter. If you open your data in Microsoft Word 97 and see commas between each field, your data is comma-separated (CSV). If you see a space between the fields, your data is either tab-separated, or uses a fixed width field. The Outlook tab-separated converter looks for a tab character between fields. In Word 97 you can select the Show/Hide option; tabs appear as arrows that point to the right, and space characters appear as small dots.
NOTE: Do not save your file as a Word document, since Word uses a different file format.
Before attempting to import data from a text file it is necessary to inspect the header record to assure that the items stored in the text file match Outlook internal names. The header record is the first record in the text file. It defines the way that the data is organized. If these fields do not match, data will not be imported.
To find out what the standard Outlook field names are you can generate a sample of these fields in Outlook.
To Generate a Sample of Outlook FieldsBefore editing your data source, it may be helpful to generate a sample of the fields used in Outlook. To generate the sample fields, follow these steps:
Importing Text DataTo import data from a text file, follow these steps:
Exporting Text Data