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Custom import and export from Microsoft Outlook

Once you customize an Outlook form, you're going to want to put data into it or get that data out. It comes as a big shock to many people that you cannot use Outlook's built-in Import and Export wizard to handle data in custom forms. User-defined fields simply do not appear on the data mapping grid in the wizard. Furthermore, if you try to export from items that were created with custom forms, you don't even get the built-in Outlook fields -- you get no data at all.

For exporting, one quick-and-dirty workaround is to view the Outlook folder in a table view, then select all items, copy them, and paste into an Excel worksheet. 

The ideal solution is to write code to handle all import/export chores involving custom forms. Your data source and available tools will usually dictate where this code should be written, but it's probably easiest to do it in VBA in either Outlook or the other program (often Excel or Access). The code involved is not difficult. Many samples are available that you can adapt. There are also a few third-party tools for the job.


From Sue's book

You can download these samples from my book --  Microsoft Outlook Programming: Jumpstart for Administrators, Developers, and Power Users -- using the Get Sue's Code link at the bottom of any page:

  • Listing 22.4 -- Extract the Members of a Distribution List to an Excel Worksheet
  • Listing 24.4 -- Create New Contacts from Data in an Excel Worksheet
  • Listing 24.5 -- Import Data from a Comma-Delimited File to a Custom Form


From Microsoft

From Helen Feddema




Export Outlook data -- a whole folder or selected items -- to clipboard, text file, HTML email message, or other file types, with user-defined filters, HTML tags, export fields, etc. Sample templates included.


Import and export tool for Outlook contacts that lets you set up multiple field mapping templates to handle the Excel, Access, Visual FoxPro, dBase, or delimited text files that you import or export regularly. Can handle Outlook custom fields, import from Access queries or linked tables, and perform unattended imports on a schedule.

Outlook DataLink

Tool to transfer data between Outlook and Microsoft Access, including custom fields. Automatically generates database tables from custom Outlook forms.

Outlook Updater

Perform updates of all kinds on Outlook data without programming -- replace, append, copy data from field to field. Supports custom forms and fields. Previews all changes before making them final.


Free tool to import from an Excel table into the Outlook Contacts folder. VB source code available.

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