Getting rid of duplicate contacts in Outlook

If you accumulate very many contacts in outlook, and particularly if you sync Outlook with a Palm or services like Plaxo, you are bound to get duplicates.

While Plaxo has a service that will help you remove duplicates, and there are other programs you can get, Outlook does have a way of doing this for free:

  1. Create a subfolder underneath your contacts folder, and move all of your contacts into it. You have to move, not copy them. You want your original contacts folder to be empty.
  2. Go to the new folder and change the view to a simple list. Then use the field chooser (right click on the column headings to get the menu) to add the “Created” field. then sort so that the oldest items are at the top of the list.
  3. Start moving items back into the original contacts folder a few dozen at a time. You really just need to make sure you don’t have any dupes in the group you are moving.
  4. When a contact is moved which already exists, Outlook will prompt you to either create a new contact or merge the info with the existing one. Choose the latter.
  5. When you’re done, you will have no duplicate contacts, and because you moved the newest ones last, they should have all the latest info.

3 thoughts on “Getting rid of duplicate contacts in Outlook

  1. Steve,
    I have a nit. I wanted to print out this post to have it in front of me when I try to do this. I couldn’t see how to get it on a page alone, so I emailed it to myself. Unfortunately, the email only provides a truncated version. So I clicked on the article link and reached the post page. However, when I print this out, I get 4 pages of printing (each other column, and then the post itself). There must be a better way, but I couldn’t find it.


  2. Hey Laura,

    I just took a look for a printer-friendly plugin for WP, and it looks like there’s an option or two. A lot of folks seem to making a special theme to do it, but I’m not sure I have that many folks printing my posts!

    Anyway, I’m sorry it was such a hassle to get a printout, and I’ll try to find a way to make it easier!


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