Outlook: How To Delete Duplicated Contacts

Posted November 26, 2007 by Rob Rogers in Microsoft Outlook

Sometimes syncing Outlook with another application or device can result in the addition of a duplicated list of contacts. Removing this list can be quite cumbersome if you take the time to delete each one, especially if you have collected a large number of addresses and such. Here’s a much quicker method:

1. Go to Contacts.

2. Click View, mouseover Current View and select Phone List. This will create a list of all of your contacts in a column based view.

3. Right-click a column header and select Field Chooser from the resulting menu.

4. In the Field Chooser box, use the dropdown and select All Contact fields.

5. Select Created.

6. Drag Created to the Colun Headers to add it to the list. Close the Field Chooser box.

7. Now click on the newly added column header (Created). This will sort all of your items by the date that they were added to your Contacts.

8. Scroll down to the first contact in the list that is to be deleted and select it.

9. Scroll down to the last contact that is to be deleted. Hold down the Shift key and select this contact. This will highlight all of the contacts that you are going to remove.

10. Press the Delete key. The duplicate contacts will be removed.

11. Click View, mouseover Current View and select the view you normally use for your contacts (such as Business Cards).

12. Your Contacts should not display any duplicates.


About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
View more articles by Rob Rogers

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Pat

    Great method of doing this!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    2,000 contact data base with duplicate entries.
    This beats restoring from a backup only a few days old.

  • Joan

    What is the difference between Busines Contact Manager and our Contacts records?
    Are they 2 different animals? I want to delete the Bus Contact Mgr, but can’t seem to manage it.

  • Andrew M

    This was brill & really helped me.

  • Chris

    All my contacts show the same creation date…. and time… including the duplicates.

    Any other suggestions?

    • http://www.claritycon.com Craig

      Yes, I had/have a similar problem… IF they are identicle its easy — just delete all but one for a goven contact. But if you are lazy like me 🙂 and revised a few contacts but don’t know which ones are not identicle, two tips:

      Add the “modified time” to the list to see which one was modfied latest.
      Add the “size” field to the list and make sure to format it in exact bytes — it two contacts are the EXACT size to the byte (e.g. 2,089 bytes) you can be pretty confident they are identicle.

      Secondly, using these fields as well as the created field, play with “group by” on the “file as” field or some field that is ALWAYS consistent for 2+ duplicates based on the way you work. Then you can just scan the “groups” with 2+ entries and triage them with the original author’s method plus the two other fields I suggested to make sure to get the latest.

      Finally, of you can’t figure it out by glancing at these fields, drag the contact(s) to a temporary contact folder, and drag them back in one at a time — Outlook will then notice the duplicate and merge them. Unfortunately there is no easy way to do this en masse as far as I know.


  • larry groves

    Done – it took longer finding the fix than executing it – what a help

  • Jim

    I deleted a contact (distro group) by mistake and I want to get it back. Where does it go, and can I get it back?

  • Jake B.

    Great tip. Worked great in Outlook 2007 after I synced my iPAQ and suddenly ended up with all duplicate contacts for some reason. Thanks.

  • Rich

    My contacts on my iPod Touche are duplicated when syncing with Outlook. They are not in duplicate in Outlook

  • jbjbcooper

    I followed the instructions to a ‘T’. I hit delete and lost all my contacts. Can’t seem to restore them. Delete erased all my contacts, not just the duplicates

  • Dmitry

    It doesn’t work if all contacts of the same date!

  • Howard

    works great!

  • Bill

    super format

  • Anon

    This in NO WAY coherently groups the duplicate records; it is still a manual process or you will simply delete all your contacts.
    It’s easier just to export to excel; clean it up and re-import it.
    This is nonsense.

    • Mikey

      I agree 100%! This only is good for that singular situation where you have double-synched a handheld to an existing Outlook database and essentially duplicated the entire database. If not, then you still have to hunt and peck to find your duplicates. There are trial SW’s out there that will do an actual search for duplicates.

  • L3

    Most of my contacts have the same ‘Created’ date because they are given the date of import.

    This does not indicate which contacts are duplicates.

  • Luois

    Excellent !!! Worked like a charm ! Thank for putting and end to a headache!

  • Sarah

    How do you do this for Outlook 2007/Vista?

  • lorraine

    I deleted a contact with information that i would like to retrieve, thought everyting went into my deleted foler but nothing there, does anyone know how to retrieve a deleted contact?

  • John M.

    Now THAT is a really good tip. Thankis!

  • Joe Marfice

    I have Outlook 2003 as well. It should be available as a button on your toolbar. If the “Current View” button isn’t available on your toolbar, use
    View / Toolbars… / Customize…
    to bring up the customize dialog, and then select the
    Commands tab
    at the top. From there, select
    and scroll until you find “Current View”. Click-and-drag this button to the toolbar, close the dialog box, and you’re done!

  • Jay Glass

    Great tip! Much better than software reported to do this function. Thank you for publishing this method. Best to you

  • John Scott

    I don’t know how I got here???

    The question was how do I remove all blank entries in my addressbook? You see I have 277 contracts and more than that are all blank when I export?

  • Jeff

    Great tip! I’ve been through this problem many times–still dealing with it, in fact. This will help immensely.
    Wondering if you can help with a similar issue. On syncing with my iPhone, it duplicated all Work Phones and Mobile Phones in EVERY contact…so no duplicate contacts, but all with duplicated phone numbers. So, I want to duplicate the 2nd entries in each contact…like deleting a column out of a spreadsheet. Thx.

  • Rinesh

    This was really helpful. Great thanks

  • Mike



    • Scott

      Ya me too. Do not have the last 2wks of new contacts. Not as bad as some I suppose.

    • Sam

      I don’t have any experience with iPhones but with any gadget, if you delete entries from your computer, and then synchronise it with your gadget, it’s only logical that the process removes those entries from your gadget as well!

  • Kelly

    I did EVERYTHING asked but once I deleted what I thought were the duplicates, I selected Business Cards view and NO CONTACTS!

    Now I have to go to my Deleted Folder and drag them all back WHY?

  • Elaine Northcutt

    This solution worked perfectly!

  • Don Fullilove

    Is this a joke? I was able to delete all of my contacts by following the above instructions…..all I wanted to do was delete the duplicates. Now, can anyone help me recover my contact files?

  • Eddy

    Auto select findes some old addresses that I cannot find them anywhere and they are not in my contact list. are they in anothe Global or MS Office address book? How can I find an ddelet them.

  • mike

    Wow this is great, saved a ton of time, worth the effort of going to web site and looking for help, sometimes it is a waste of effort, not this time for me,

    I have 2007

  • Anonymous

    can you locate a contact by number? i.e. 562 (of 1059)

  • Name

    Thank you for this information. I was about ready to tear my hair out!!

  • Ron Freedman

    I followed the directions above exactly, the process deleted practically all of my records duplicates and non-duplicates. Is there any way to find the records it delected so I could reinstall them. Living with duplicates is better than having nothing at all.

    • Eddy

      I am surprise as in my case when I deleted the file Outlook.nk2 and restarted Outlook, it regenerated a new file with all previous contacts. It was good for a time, but more surprisingly the old email addresses are coming back, It appears to me that they are some where in crazy MS. I suggest that you search your computer for *.nk2 you may find the deleted file.

      • Ron

        I tried to find *.nk2 file but was unable to find one. Any other suggestions?


        • Eddy

          Sorry Ron, unless you had it syncronised with another application, like Mobile Phone etc, otherwise no other suggestion, maybe you want to talk with MS.

  • Anonymous

    This worked spectacularly and saved me hours of work

  • swise

    if you hit shift at the last duplicate you wish to remove it highlights all contacts in between and deletes duplicates and non-duplicates. Now I understand that you can scroll through using the ctrl key and highlight all duplicates manually but I wanted to find a time saving way to do this…

  • Neal

    Sound great, but I do not have a “created” field in my Outlook 2007.

    Any suggestions?

  • Name

    this did not help at all!!!

  • Anonymous

    I removed all my contact informtion in order to remove all duplicates and managed to deleted my entire database.Very Smart! Is there anyway I could retrieve it????Please advice

  • http://www.osamaa.com/ Osama

    Thanks a lot. u helped me a lot. “))

  • Anonymous

    This was incredibly helpful.

  • LeslieTr

    Worked great; my Palm did an early am sync & resulted in 2x contacts. Wasn’t looking forward to editing them one at a time. Start to finish this was a time saver !

  • Anonymous

    This saved me so much time, so simple yet so useful!

  • Anonymous

    Very ood solution. Thanks

  • Anonymous

    outstanding, effective and simple

  • aswolfe

    took all of five minutes to delete my duplicates (there were 150 duplicated contacts).

  • Anonymous

    Awesome—! i’ve always wondered where this was!

  • Anonymous

    Not helpful I do not display an All Contacts option on the selection of Field Chooser.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    This only solves duplicated contacts resulting from a mass import. It does not even find duplicated contacts through the folders. To do it, before following your suggestions we’ll probably have to export each folder to a CSV file, merge the files and import the resulting file to a folder. Then we can work it out in a single folder. Or you can copy al contacts from all folders to one only. However, this is not exactly what we could call a satisfying solutions. We get all our contacts mixed up. II think there is no real way to check suplicates through the folders, or is there a better way to do it?

  • Anonymous

    Worked like a charm, thank you so much from saving me from having to manually delete almost 700 contacts. I owe you hours of my life!

  • JS

    I think the bigger question is, (and your solution was wonderful), how do we prevent this from happening, or what is the mechanism by which I get not only dupilcate contacts, but multiple listings of calendar events (like 20 listings of the same calendar event at the same time)?

  • Anonymous

    This is the GREATEST advice about Outlook I ever received. This is nowhere in outlook help. It works perfectly. My duplicates arose between outlook 03/ 07/ and palm synching between 5 different computers. Wonderful. For those who deleted “everything”, they were not careful in following instructions and making certain only the entries to be deleted were highlighted BEFORE hitting the delete button.

  • Jaime

    Thank you very much. That is the best solution I have found.

  • Anonymous

    thankyou i tried a new sync program that made a mess of things took me 5 minutes to fix

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see how this would work unless I knew the dates that the duplicates were made. After multiple syncings between (two) computers, iPhone, and MobileMe, I have got a mess.

  • Anonymous

    I have duplicate entries in some cases triple entries, but they all show the SAME DATE, so i can’t use “shift” because it highlights everything since the entries aren’t separated by dates. I really don’t want to do this manually. Please help

  • Prapons

    Wow, it works. Thanks a lot. It save a lot of time instead of going to delete the contacts one by one.

  • Lashknife

    Awesome, perfect solution for such an annoying random occuring problem


  • Quartetmania

    The only thing I get when I select VIEW is Toolbar. Nothing else.

  • Ndh

    NICE, That worked perfectly!!! Thanks Microsoft… I needed duplicates of everything…

  • annon


  • Aser

    Worked for me – than you

  • Len

    Genius!! saved me loads of time 1100 contacts replicated twice, now back to normal
    Thank you

  • anothertechie


  • Srinath

    Thank you very much for the tip. Really helped me a lot.

  • Hnashok

    Thanks for saving hundreds of hours of painstaking work for so many grateful people.


  • Hnashok

    Thanks for saving hundreds of hours of painstaking work for so many grateful people.


  • Hnashok

    Thanks for saving hundreds of hours of painstaking work for so many grateful people.


  • Theresa

    Hi There,  is it OK to use this even if the duplicates have been in place for quite some time? And we are using Exchange Server? Thanks so much!

  • http://www.scrubly.com Scrubly

    Will have to try this out to help

  • Rich

    Big help! Thanks.

  • Alok Jha

    Voila….. Done in few sec and deleted almost 1500 contacts..

    Gr8 Job


  • Joyce Sinclair

    Thanks heaps. This has saved me so much time.

  • uncle bob

    Worked perfect for me. Thanks.

  • tammy

    Worked perfectly! And I am not computer literate. Thanks so much!

  • OG

    That is amazing – you just saved me 2 hours of my life!

  • Jackie

    What about duplicates on the iphone contact file–suggestions? I don’t use an iphone, but my boss does–I get the grumbles when they duplicate in both places.

  • Rajiv

    Thanks, but this does not seem like a smart way to identify and delete duplicates when you have ~3000 entries in your contacts list.
    I have maintained and carried forward my contacts during changeovers involving laptops and phones over the past ~15 years – all the time using Outlook as the master and doing export, then import of all the crucial data (contacts, calender, notes, tasks) using a .pst file.
    Some phones (e.g. iPhone) or other sync software have misbehaved from time to time leaving me with multiple duplicates of various types. I have done cleaning up manually a few times, but this problem has recurred.

    Ideally, I am looking for an Outlook plug-in which when run would identify all duplicates, flag out the difference fields and let me decide which entry to keep or merge. I have not found such a tool yet.

    Please advise…

  • Frank

    fantastic!!!! thanks a ton.

  • Joy

    This worked well. Do you have a solution for duplicate calendar entries?

  • Mike Hughes

    Worked like a charm! Synced to pda flawlessly! Thanks!

  • Mike

    Okay, I’m going to show how much I don’t know about computers. The first instructuion here is “Go to Contacts”. Tell me how I “go to contacts”.

  • Sambo Jambo

    Great fix when accidently duploicating my contacts from my mobile phone into Outlook. Took about 15 seconds to complete. So much better than manually deleting 700 contact cards one-by-one. Thanks!

  • Jocelyn

    Fantastic. I was about to delete 700 contacts one at a time when I decided to do the search to see if there was a better way. I have had my contacts duplicated before, and those times I did the hard way. This was great.

  • Rammi

    Mate your a champ. Thanks

  • Tim H

    This article was very helpful. I was using iCloud with my iPad and wound up with a duplication of all my contacts. This saved a lot of time.

  • John in MO

    Thank you! Great tip!

  • Duncan

    This worked a treat! Thanks!

  • Christopher Tippins

    Very handy solution – my compliments to the chef(s)! 🙂

  • Ray Beckerman

    Very cool. I used your basic method and was able to rid myself
    of thousands of “phantom”, empty, contacts entries which were
    cluttering up my address book.

    I have no idea how they got there, but I guess I don’t need to know now… now
    that I found your article and got rid of them 🙂

    Thank you very much.