Manage Contacts and Groups

Outlook has some great tools for working with contacts and contact groups. This module will show you how to create, import and edit contacts or forward your information about a contact to another Outlook user. We’ll look at address books and how to create and manage contact groups. We’ll also look at how to send an email or a meeting invitation to a contact group. Finally, we’ll look at using the scheduling assistant for meetings and cancelling a meeting invitation.

Create and Manage Contacts

Create a New Contact

Organize who you can connect with in Outlook by creating contacts.

Here’s how to open the Contacts view.

  1. Select the People icon from the bottom of the Folders pane.

In the Contacts view, the left pane shows your Contacts lists, and the Contacts pane includes details about the contacts, depending on which view you have selected.

Here’s how to create a new contact.

  1. Select New Contact from the Home tab on the Ribbon while in Contacts view.
  1. In the New Contact window, enter the Full Name for the person, or as much of the name as you can at this time. However, note that the contact will be organized according to this information. 
  1. You can include as much or as little additional information as desired about the contact.
  1. Include the contact’s Company and Job Title in the top section. 
  2. In the next section, you can include up to three email addresses, a web page address, and an IM address. To include more than one email address, select the option from the Email drop down list and enter the information. You can also make changes on how the email addresses are displayed.
  3. The next section is for phone numbers. You can include up to four different types of phone numbers. Select the label from the drop down list for each option and enter the phone number.
  4. The next section is for addresses. You can include a business, home, and other address. Select the label from the drop down list and enter the information.
  5. Include any Notes about the contact, if desired. This is also where any files that are attached will show.
  1. Notice that the card in the top right includes the information that you have added, as appropriate.
  2. On the Contact tab of the Ribbon, select Save and Close.

Import Contacts

You can have Outlook import your contacts from another program.

Here’s how to import a contact.

  1. Select the File tab to open the Backstage View.
  2. Select the Open & Export tab on the left.
  3. Select Import/Export.
  1. In the Import and Export Wizard dialog box, select Import for another program or file and select Next.
  1. Select Comma Separated Values and select Next.
  1. Browse to the location of the file you downloaded when you exported your contacts. Indicate how to handle duplicates and select Next.
  1. Select the destination folder for where you want these contacts to be stored in your Outlook data file. If you have multiple email accounts connected, choose the Contacts folder under the email for which you want these contacts available. Select Next.
  1. Select Finish.
  1. Outlook imports your contacts and loads them to your Contacts folder.

Edit Contacts 

You can change some details right from the Contacts pane.

Here’s how to change the contact details from the contacts pane.

  1. Select List from the Current View section of the Contacts Home tab.
  1. In the contacts list, click on the contact in the Contacts pane. Click again on the text to activate it. You can now add or delete text and even highlight text and type over it. Press Enter to save your changes.

Here’s how to attach an image to a contact.

  1. Double-click the contact to open it.
  2. In the Contact window, you can edit any of the details just as you did when you created the contact.
  3. Click on the image icon. 
  1. Navigate to the location of the image file you want to attach and select OK.
  1. Select Save & Close from the Contact tab on the Ribbon when you have finished.

Here’s how to delete a contact.

  1. Highlight the contact in the Contacts pane (or open the contact) and select Delete from the Home tab on the Ribbon.

Forward Contacts

You can forward the information you have for a contact to another Outlook user.

Here’s how to forward a contact.  

  1. Open the contact that you want to send to another person.
  2. From the Contact tab on the Ribbon, select Forward.
  1. Select one of the following:
    1. As a Business Card – to forward the information as a business card attachment in internet format.
    2. In Internet Format – to forward the information to someone else as a vcard.
    3. As an Outlook Contact – to forward the information to someone else in Outlook format.
  2. Outlook opens a new email message with the contact information attached in the format you selected. Address the message, add any details and select Send.

Create and Manage Address Books

Address books allow you to organize your contacts to make them easier to find, such as a group of coworkers, relatives or a club.

Here’s how to create an address book.

  1. On the left pane in Contacts view, right click the Contacts item and select New Folder from the context menu.
  1. In the Create New Folder dialog box, enter a name for the Address book and select a location. You’ll want to make sure it’s placed under the Contacts folder for the email address where you want these contacts available. Select OK
  1. Now in the left pane, the new folder is available. Right click it to select Properties to make sure it’s being handled as an Address book.
  1. In the Properties dialog box, select the Outlook Address Book tab and make sure the Show this folder box is checked.

Here’s how to add a contact to an address book.

  1. In the Contacts list view, drag the contact you want to add to an address book to that folder on the left pane. A small square appears next to the cursor, along with a highlight for the item being added to the address book.

Create and Manage Contact Groups

Create a New Contact Group

Create a new contact group in Outlook to simplify communications with a group of people.

Here’s how to create a new contact group. Use the following procedure.

  1. In Contacts view in Outlook, select New Contact Group from the Home tab on the Ribbon.
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  1. In the Contact Group window that opens, enter a Name for the group to help you remember its purpose.
  1. You can enter notes about the group by selecting Notes from the Contact Group tab on the Ribbon. Select Members to return to the members view.
  1. Select Add Members to build the group membership. Select one of the following:
    1. From Outlook Contacts
    2. From Address Book
    3. New Email Contact
  2. If you selected From Outlook Contacts or From Address Book, choose the name(s) from the Select Members dialog box. You can switch to another Address Book by selecting it from the drop down list. Double-click the members you want to add or highlight them and select Members. Select OK.
  1. If you selected New Email Contact, enter the display name and email address in the Add New Member dialog box. Select OK.
  1. When you have finished adding members, select Save & Close to save your contact group information.

Manage Contact Group Members

Once you create a contact group, you can always add or remove members as the membership of your group changes.

Here’s how to remove members.

  1. Open the Contact Group by double-clicking on it in the Contacts view in Outlook.
  2. Highlight the contact you want to delete in the list.
  1. Select Remove Member. The member is immediately removed and there is no undo.
  2. When you have finished managing the group, select Save & Close.

Send an Email or Meeting Invitation to a Contact Group

Groups make it easy to send messages or invite the team to a meeting.

Here’s how to send an email or meeting invitation to a contact group.

  1. Open the Contact Group by double-clicking on it in the Contacts view in Outlook.
  2. Select Email from the Contact Group tab on the Ribbon.
  1. Outlook opens a new email with the contact group already added in the To field.

Note that you can also simply type in the group name when addressing a new, reply to or forward email.

Manage Calendar Groups and Meeting Schedules 

Manage Calendar Groups

Once you have contacts, and calendars related to those contacts, you can put your calendars into a calendar group to help manage them.

Here’s how to create a new calendar group.

  1. Select Calendar Group from the Home tab on the Ribbon.
  2. Select Create New Calendar Group or Save as New Calendar Group to create a group out of currently showing calendars.
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  1. Enter the Name for the calendar group and select OK.
  1. If you selected Create New Calendar Group, highlight the Contacts you want to include from the Select Name dialog box and select Group Members.
  1. When you have selected all of the Group Members, select OK.

The calendar appears in the newly created group. You can easily drag a calendar from one group to another, or right-click the calendar or groups to see additional options in the context menu.

Use Scheduling Assistant to Set Up Meetings

The Scheduling Assistant can help you find the best time for meeting with other people. 

Here’s how to schedule a meeting using the scheduling assistant.

  1. Select New Meeting from the Calendar Home tab on the Ribbon.
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  1. Enter the Subject for the meeting.
  2. Enter a Location for the meeting. If you have a Microsoft Exchange account, you can select from the available Rooms.
  3. Enter any information about the meeting in the body of the meeting request. You can also attach files.
  4. Select the Meeting tab from the Ribbon.
  5. Select Scheduling to switch from Appointment view to Scheduling view.
  1. Select Add Others. Select Add from Address Book.
  1. In the Select Attendees and Resources dialog box, highlight the names of the people you want to invite. Click on Required, Optional, or Resources to add those contacts to that list. Select OK.
  1. The Free/Busy grid shows the schedule for each of the selected attendees. The proposed meeting is represented by a highlighted area with bold borders. You can use the << or AutoPick Next>> buttons to move backwards or forwards on the schedule. You can also simply enter a start and end date and time or just drag the highlighted border to a new location.
  1. For Exchange users, the Room Finder pane shows suggested times. Select Room Finder from the Meeting tab on the Ribbon if the Room Finder pane is not displayed. Double click on a time to select it from the Room Finder pane.
Suggested times for a meeting request
  1. You can add a Recurrence to the meeting, if desired.
  2. You can change the advance time for the Reminder, if desired. If the organizer does not change the reminder time, each recipient’s default reminder is used.
  3. You can return to the Appointment view to send the invitation.

Cancel Meetings

Only the meeting organizer can cancel a meeting that has been scheduled with others.

Here’s how to cancel a meeting invitation. Use the following procedure.

  1. The organizer should open the meeting in Outlook.
  2. Select Cancel Meeting from the Meeting tab on the Ribbon.

A new message opens, where you can add more information about the cancellation. 

  1. Select Send Cancellation.

The meeting is removed from the schedule.