Import Outlook Contacts Into Windows Live Mail/Hotmail

Many people are switching over to cloud-based services. If you’re moving from Microsoft Outlook over to your Windows Live Mail/Hotmail account, you may want to take your Outlook Contacts with you. We’ll show you how to import your Contacts from Outlook into your Windows Live Mail account.

First you have to export your contacts from Outlook to a CSV file.

1. In Outlook, select File > Import and Export…

2. One the first screen of the wizard, select Export to a file, then click Next.

Outlook Export to a file option

3. Select Comma Separated Values (DOS), then click Next.

Comma Separated Values DOS option

4. Choose Contacts in the list, then click Next.

Contacts Export option

5. Save the file to a location. Click the Browse… button if you want to avoid typing the full path. Click Next.

Type filename for export file

6. Click Finish.

7. The file is exported with a .CSV extension.

Now that we have our export file, we can import the contents of it into Windows Live Mail/Hotmail.

8. Login to your Hotmail account.

9. Select the Contacts option on the left pane.

10. Click the Manage link and select Import.

Hotmail Import option

11. Under the Add people from other services section, select the Outlook option.

Add people from Outlook option

12. Click the Microsoft Outlook (using CSV) selection, then click the Choose File button.

Hotmail Importing contacts screen

13. Select the file you exported from Outlook in steps 1 through 7.

Select CSV file from Hotmail

14. Click the Import contacts button.

Hotmail Import contacts button

After a few seconts the contacts should import to Windows Live Mail/Hotmail successfully.


  1. EZ says

    The process worked perfectly yet there is a snag. When I open WLM to write and send an email NONE of the contacts that were imported will appear. WHY? In Outlook I would just start to type the persons name and their email address would pop right up. >Perplexed<

  2. Joe Bloggs says

    WINDOWS LIVE MAIL doesn’t have anything that says FILE and IMPORT! Grrrr! It seems to be some new crippled component of WINDOWS 7 that is unrelated to the Hotmail you keep talking about. Why do they keep using the same name for two different things? I have the .CSV file but see no way to import it into WINDOWS LIVE MAIL on my new computer. Hours and hours wasted on Microsoft’s foolishness.

  3. Nora says

    Instructions were great. Worked after I found the right buttons ans drop down menus. Now will try to put contacts in my Windows phone! Thanks.

  4. David says

    I am trying to import my Outlook 2010 contacts into WLM 2012.
    The options and screen shots don’t correspond.
    I select the option CSV. That generates a message that wants Title”,”Firstname”"Middle” identified, which I identify in a damaged dropdown menu as First Name. A progress bar appears and then I am back to WLM Contacts screen, but no contacts have been added.

    Is there some place with a definitive article on how to migrate (e-mails, calendar, contacts) from Outlook 2010 to WLM 2012. Surely somebody has written something?!

  5. Jim says

    I seem to be having the same problem as Mary. My contacts are in a .pst file. The file is 2.19 MB. When I try to import the file, I get the message that the file is over 500kb, with no further instructions. Is there a workaround to this? Thank you.

  6. Ed says

    After all the misinformation I found elsewhere, this worked on first try.
    Some places told me to reinstall after importing! Thank you!!!!

  7. mary says

    tried this as suggested but get this message…
    The file you want to import is too large. Please delete some of the contacts and then try importing the file again.
    I only have 178 contacts! How can this file be too large? Help

  8. Radek says

    Good info, but it doesn’t work for me. I follow the above mentioned instructionsI but I get a message that the file is empty. Can anyone help me please? Thanks.

  9. Steven says

    Brilliant post, straight-forward with your help! Thanks!

    Had previously transferred contacts as a .pst from an old XP machine running outlook 2003. Downloaded the Microshoft Off*ce demo and opened the .pst contacts in outlook 2010.

  10. TC says

    how would you import all of the subfields at the same time using .csv? This appears impossible and it doesn’t like .pst files.

  11. jim says

    Good info BUt…on OUTLOOK i had created subfolders and I have created same subfolders in window live mail.
    However cannot import direct to subfolder in windows live mail. It all goes in to contacts…dont want to search through contacts and find 100 names and drag into subfolder..any ideas

  12. KP says

    I can export and import the contacts successfully but not all the phone numbers show up.
    E.g For 1 particular contact i have 4 different contact numbers under the following headings:
    ‘Mobile’, ‘Business’, ‘Primary’ and ‘Other’ but numbers under ‘business’ and ‘primary’ do not show in my WLM contacts.
    All email addresses for the contact seems to show as well as any phone numbers under ‘Business 2′.

    My contacts have been exported from MS Outlook 2007.

    Any ideas?

  13. TBone0520 says

    I was using Outlook 2010 and now I am switching over to Windows Live Mail 2011. I have attempted this process following the steps given here twice and nothing ever happens.

    The .csv file has data in it, so it exported it correctly, it just will not import the data.

  14. eric says

    non of this works.
    when exporting Outlook contacts to a csv file it exports nothing but an empty exell spreadsheet

  15. George Pollow says

    When I open Contacts in Windows Live Mail, there is no file option. It wants me to sign in. If I do this will my contact list be sent to MS?

  16. RB says

    After figuring this out, I thought Id come back here and report in hopes that it saves someone else the time.

    In OUTLOOK: Open up Contacts, then…
    File>Import and Export>Export to a File>Comma Separated Values (Windows)>[select CONTACTS folder]>[give your contacts file a name and save it on a memory stick]>[click finish].

    IN WINDOWS LIVE MAIL: Open up Contacts, then…
    File>Import>Comma Separated Value (.csv)>[choose file from memory stick]>[choose data fields to import]>[wait for transfer and then click finish].

    As mentioned above, if you tell WLM that you’re importing from Outlook, it will only do so if the contact file in question is on the same computer. But to do so from a different computer, use the CSV file format to export/import.

    Hope that helps someone out there.

  17. RB says

    I’m trying to do the same thing with no success. At least if WLM gave an option for where to find the file I could get it in there. But the import menu in WLM assumes you want to import it from your outlook that is on the same computer.

    And whats with the branding problem? Even help pages on the web seem to get these programs confused. Someone will say they’re trying to import from Windows live mail and someone will give them instructions as if they’re using windows live hotmail, and there is a difference!

  18. 2computers says

    This is assuming that both Outlook and Windows Live Mail are on the same computer. I would like to import my Outlook contacts from one system into Windows Live Mail on another system. Any ideas?

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