Sync your Outlook and mobile-phone contacts

Dennis o'reilly By Dennis O’Reilly

Scott Dunn’s Oct. 23 lead story, which described workarounds to help you sync Outlook contacts and calendars with an iPhone, neglectedto provide detailed steps for users of BlackBerrys, Windows Mobile, and other devices.

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Fortunately, the procedure to merge data with these other phones’ address books requires only the sync software that shipped with your mobile device.

For better or worse, Windows dominates desktop computing. Even though the Windows community is currently split between XP and Vista, there’s enough commonality between the versions — some would argue too much commonality, others not enough — that we can make general statements that apply to both.

Not so with our mobile phones.

There’s no dominant platform for mobile devices. BlackBerrys, Windows Mobile phones, and iPhones all have healthy market shares. That’s good for consumers, but it makes it a bit difficult to describe what works on all those devices.

Fortunately, synching your Windows contact list with a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile is a snap. Simply use the software that ships with the respective devices, such as BlackBerry Desktop and ActiveSync (for XP) or Windows Mobile Device Center (for Vista).

A post on the BlackBerry Insight Forums describes the contact-synching process for Research In Motion’s phones. Also, troubleshooting tips for BlackBerry sync problems and help with ActiveSync glitches are available at the BlackBerry site, while tips for the Windows Mobile Device Center are posted at

Former Windows Secrets program director Brent Scheffler writes about a technique he used to sync Outlook 2007 contacts with his new T-Mobile G1 phone, which might help users of other devices, too:
  • “Apropos of importing contacts into an iPhone, I recently picked up the new T-Mobile G1 phone and had some difficulties exporting the contacts from my Outlook 2007 into my Gmail contacts.

    “For some reason, not all contacts and data fields made the transition into Gmail. After several attempts, I then remembered that Outlook Express and Windows Mail have much better import/export features than their full-priced Office cousin, Outlook 2007.

    “To import your contacts from Outlook 2007 (should work for previous versions of Outlook as well), use the following steps:

    Step 1: Open Outlook 2007 and export your contacts using Outlook’s Import/Export feature. Click File, Import and Export, select Export to a file, choose Comma Separated Values (Windows), click Contacts, and choose a path and file name to save the file to. Exit Outlook 2007.

    Step 2: Now open Outlook Express (XP) or Windows Mail (Vista) and use the programs’ Import feature to add the CSV file you just created. In Outlook Express, click File, Import, Other Address Book; and then select Text file (Comma Separated Values). Choose Import and select the CSV file you created in step 1.

    “In Windows Mail, select File, Import, Windows Contacts; click CSV (Comma Separated Values) and choose the CSV file you created in step 1.

    Step 3: Once the contacts have been imported into Outlook Express or Windows Mail, you export the contacts back to a CSV file. Give the new export file a different name so you do not overwrite the original Outlook 2007 contacts CSV file.

    “In Outlook Express, select File, Export, Address Book; choose Text file (Comma Separated Values), click Export, and enter a path and file name to save the contacts to.

    “For Windows Mail, select File, Export, Windows Contacts. Click CSV (Comma Separated Values), choose Export, and select a path and file name to save the contacts to.

    Step 4: To import the contacts into Gmail’s contact list, log into your Gmail account and click the Contacts link in the left column. After the page has loaded, click the Import link in the upper right, select the CSV file that you created in Outlook Express or Windows Mail, and click the Import button.

    “Presto! All of your contacts are properly imported and should be synched with your G1 phone in a few minutes.”
You’ll find more information on troubleshooting Gmail glitches on Google’s Help Center page.

If you run Windows on a Mac, you need to patch

In last week’s Top Story, Susan Bradley answered a reader’s question about whether someone running Microsoft applications on a Macintosh would be affected by the out-of-cycle patch Microsoft released the previous week. Susan answered that this wasn’t necessary.

However, the reader’s question referred to Microsoft Office and other applications from the company, not Windows. Several readers pointed out that Macs running Windows need the patch as well. The story should have stated that Macs running Microsoft programs other than Windows needn’t apply the out-of-cycle patch.

The Known Issues column brings you readers’ comments on our recent articles. Dennis O’Reilly is technical editor of