Outlook: How To Delete Duplicated Contacts

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.
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97 Responses to “Outlook: How To Delete Duplicated Contacts”

  1. October 06, 2008 at 8:56 am, Pat said:

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

    Reply

  2. October 17, 2008 at 6:17 pm, Anonymous said:

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

    Reply

  3. October 17, 2008 at 6:28 pm, Joan said:

    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.

    Reply

  4. October 20, 2008 at 10:46 pm, Andrew M said:

    This was brill & really helped me.

    Reply

  5. October 21, 2008 at 5:24 pm, Chris said:

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

    Any other suggestions?

    Reply

    • October 22, 2008 at 1:23 am, Craig said:

      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.

      Craig
      http://www.claritycon.com

      Reply

  6. November 04, 2008 at 6:32 pm, larry groves said:

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

    Reply

  7. November 07, 2008 at 5:29 pm, Jim said:

    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?

    Reply

  8. November 09, 2008 at 12:27 am, Jake B. said:

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

    Reply

  9. December 05, 2008 at 5:15 am, Rich said:

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

    Reply

  10. December 17, 2008 at 4:24 am, jbjbcooper said:

    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

    Reply

  11. December 21, 2008 at 2:27 am, Dmitry said:

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

    Reply

  12. December 22, 2008 at 6:28 pm, Howard said:

    works great!

    Reply

  13. December 23, 2008 at 1:33 am, Bill said:

    super format

    Reply

  14. December 23, 2008 at 2:16 am, Anon said:

    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.

    Reply

    • June 29, 2009 at 12:51 am, Mikey said:

      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.

      Reply

  15. January 23, 2009 at 12:03 am, L3 said:

    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.

    Reply

  16. January 24, 2009 at 3:56 am, Luois said:

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

    Reply

  17. February 04, 2009 at 10:25 pm, Sarah said:

    How do you do this for Outlook 2007/Vista?

    Reply

  18. February 13, 2009 at 5:11 pm, lorraine said:

    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?

    Reply

  19. February 15, 2009 at 6:29 pm, John M. said:

    Now THAT is a really good tip. Thankis!

    Reply

  20. February 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm, Joe Marfice said:

    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
    View
    and scroll until you find “Current View”. Click-and-drag this button to the toolbar, close the dialog box, and you’re done!

    Reply

  21. March 16, 2009 at 8:28 pm, Jay Glass said:

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

    Reply

  22. March 27, 2009 at 3:57 pm, John Scott said:

    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?

    Reply

  23. April 13, 2009 at 8:39 pm, Jeff said:

    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.

    Reply

  24. April 23, 2009 at 12:46 am, Rinesh said:

    This was really helpful. Great thanks

    Reply

  25. May 01, 2009 at 11:19 pm, Mike said:

    WARNING: These tips did not work for me…I DELETED ALL MY CONTACT..NO WAY TO RETRIEVE. THEN I SYNCED MY IPHONE THINKING I COULD RE LOAD THE CONTACT NEGATIVE….DELETED ALL CONTACTS ON MY IPHONE!!!!! LUCKILY I HAVE MY OTHER COMPUTER WITH NUMBER TO BACK UP…LET’S SEE….

    SO WHAT DID I DO WRONG?

    Reply

    • May 10, 2009 at 3:35 am, Scott said:

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

      Reply

    • June 07, 2009 at 2:00 am, Sam said:

      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!

      Reply

  26. May 20, 2009 at 11:22 pm, Kelly said:

    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?

    Reply

  27. June 01, 2009 at 9:32 pm, Elaine Northcutt said:

    This solution worked perfectly!

    Reply

  28. June 09, 2009 at 4:00 pm, Don Fullilove said:

    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?

    Reply

  29. July 03, 2009 at 1:00 am, Eddy said:

    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.

    Reply

  30. July 09, 2009 at 3:46 pm, mike said:

    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

    Reply

  31. July 17, 2009 at 9:31 pm, Anonymous said:

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

    Reply

  32. July 24, 2009 at 8:47 pm, Name said:

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

    Reply

  33. August 10, 2009 at 3:23 pm, Ron Freedman said:

    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.

    Reply

    • August 11, 2009 at 12:03 am, Eddy said:

      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.

      Reply

      • August 11, 2009 at 1:43 am, Ron said:

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

        Ron

        Reply

        • August 13, 2009 at 1:13 am, Eddy said:

          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.

          Reply

  34. September 11, 2009 at 1:34 pm, Anonymous said:

    This worked spectacularly and saved me hours of work
    Thanks!

    Reply

  35. September 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm, swise said:

    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…

    Reply

  36. October 05, 2009 at 2:04 pm, Neal said:

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

    Any suggestions?

    Reply

  37. October 05, 2009 at 6:52 pm, Name said:

    this did not help at all!!!

    Reply

  38. October 08, 2009 at 6:42 pm, Anonymous said:

    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

    Reply

  39. October 12, 2009 at 10:36 am, Osama said:

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

    Reply

  40. October 18, 2009 at 2:25 pm, Anonymous said:

    This was incredibly helpful.

    Reply

  41. November 03, 2009 at 2:38 pm, LeslieTr said:

    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 !

    Reply

  42. November 09, 2009 at 2:41 pm, Anonymous said:

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

    Reply

  43. December 05, 2009 at 11:05 am, Anonymous said:

    Very ood solution. Thanks

    Reply

  44. December 09, 2009 at 9:25 pm, Anonymous said:

    outstanding, effective and simple

    Reply

  45. December 30, 2009 at 3:08 pm, aswolfe said:

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

    Reply

  46. December 31, 2009 at 1:58 pm, Anonymous said:

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

    Reply

  47. January 09, 2010 at 2:47 pm, Anonymous said:

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

    Reply

  48. January 18, 2010 at 10:39 pm, Anonymous said:

    But it doesn’t merge them?
    Contact: Tom White, Westside State Bank, Highway 30, Westside, IA
    Contact: Tom White, Bus Phone: 712-663-4398, email: tjw@wssbank.com

    I will gladly delete one BUT I want them merged first. And which one has journal entries? I want to keep that one

    Reply

  49. January 21, 2010 at 12:42 am, Anonymous said:

    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?

    Reply

  50. February 10, 2010 at 6:38 pm, Anonymous said:

    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!

    Reply

  51. February 22, 2010 at 5:15 am, JS said:

    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)?

    Reply

  52. March 01, 2010 at 8:29 pm, Anonymous said:

    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.

    Reply

  53. March 03, 2010 at 11:41 am, Jaime said:

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

    Reply

  54. April 07, 2010 at 8:14 pm, Anonymous said:

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

    Reply

  55. April 18, 2010 at 12:47 am, Anonymous said:

    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.

    Reply

  56. May 01, 2010 at 1:04 am, Anonymous said:

    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

    Reply

  57. June 11, 2010 at 9:48 am, Prapons said:

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

    Reply

  58. June 22, 2010 at 1:01 pm, Lashknife said:

    Awesome, perfect solution for such an annoying random occuring problem

    regards
    Lashknife

    Reply

  59. July 13, 2010 at 12:11 am, Quartetmania said:

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

    Reply

  60. July 16, 2010 at 9:26 pm, Ndh said:

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

    Reply

  61. July 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm, annon said:

    Excellent!

    Reply

  62. October 24, 2010 at 5:02 pm, Aser said:

    Worked for me – than you

    Reply

  63. November 26, 2010 at 10:02 am, Len said:

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

    Reply

  64. December 26, 2010 at 1:57 am, anothertechie said:

    genius

    Reply

  65. February 22, 2011 at 5:13 am, Srinath said:

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

    Reply

  66. June 07, 2011 at 1:26 pm, Hnashok said:

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

    Ashok 

    Reply

  67. June 07, 2011 at 1:26 pm, Hnashok said:

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

    Ashok 

    Reply

  68. June 07, 2011 at 1:26 pm, Hnashok said:

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

    Ashok 

    Reply

  69. June 08, 2011 at 10:10 pm, Theresa said:

    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!

    Reply

  70. August 02, 2011 at 5:11 pm, Scrubly said:

    Will have to try this out to help

    Reply

  71. September 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm, Rich said:

    Big help! Thanks.

    Reply

  72. December 31, 2011 at 2:00 am, Alok Jha said:

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

    Gr8 Job

    Alok

    Reply

  73. January 03, 2012 at 7:45 pm, Joyce Sinclair said:

    Thanks heaps. This has saved me so much time.

    Reply

  74. March 01, 2012 at 5:11 pm, uncle bob said:

    Worked perfect for me. Thanks.

    Reply

  75. March 08, 2012 at 12:05 pm, tammy said:

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

    Reply

  76. March 25, 2012 at 7:47 am, OG said:

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

    Reply

  77. May 04, 2012 at 5:35 pm, Jackie said:

    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.

    Reply

  78. May 10, 2012 at 5:16 am, Rajiv said:

    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…

    Reply

  79. May 11, 2012 at 4:23 pm, Frank said:

    fantastic!!!! thanks a ton.

    Reply

  80. August 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm, Joy said:

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

    Reply

  81. August 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm, Mike Hughes said:

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

    Reply

  82. September 12, 2012 at 4:02 am, Mike said:

    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”.

    Reply

  83. November 13, 2012 at 5:13 am, Sambo Jambo said:

    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!

    Reply

  84. November 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm, Jocelyn said:

    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.

    Reply

  85. March 13, 2013 at 1:56 am, Rammi said:

    Mate your a champ. Thanks

    Reply

  86. May 18, 2013 at 5:49 pm, Tim H said:

    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.

    Reply

  87. June 18, 2013 at 7:58 am, John in MO said:

    Thank you! Great tip!

    Reply

  88. June 28, 2013 at 4:04 am, Duncan said:

    This worked a treat! Thanks!

    Reply

  89. October 19, 2013 at 7:41 pm, Christopher Tippins said:

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

    Reply

  90. February 28, 2014 at 10:41 am, Ray Beckerman said:

    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.

    Reply

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