How to Fix Duplicate Contacts in Outlook for Mac 2011

Mac Contacts icon and Outlook for Mac icon

Outlook for Mac 2011 is one of the most popular email clients for OS X, and while it’s extremely useful in many ways, it doesn’t play well with others. With the release of OS X Mavericks and beyond, Outlook 2011 Sync Services has stopped syncing Outlook contacts to the Mac address book, making it very hard to clean up duplicate Outlook contacts on your Mac.

Because of this, we’ve had to get a little clever to make things work. Luckily, there’s still a solution for fixing duplicate contacts in Outlook for Mac 2011.

We’ve got the step-by-step for you below, so take a look and get scrubbing today.

The process is actually fairly simple. All you have to do is export your contacts from Outlook to the Mac address book and run Scrubly from there. When you’re done and you’ve downloaded your scrubbed contacts from Scrubly back to your Mac, you export those contacts from the Mac back to Outlook 2011.

WARNING: The process outlined below will merge your Outlook and Mac contacts. If you do not wish to intermingle these lists, then please do not continue. If you are OK with merging your contact lists in Outlook and Contacts for the Mac, then this is exactly where you want to be.

Export Contacts From Outlook for Mac 2011

The first step in this process is to export your contacts from Outlook into a file format that your Mac can read.

1. Open up Outlook for Mac 2011 and click on File > Export.
2. The Export window should appear. Select the radio button next to Contacts to a list (tab-delimited text) and then click the right arrow in the bottom right corner.
Outlook for Mac 2011 Export window

3. You should get a Save dialog box. You can leave the Save As line alone, but make sure it saves to your Desktop. Click OK when done.

Outlook for Mac 2011 Save dialog box

4. Outlook will now export your contacts to a TXT file. Once this is complete you can click the Done button and minimize Outlook, as we’ll be coming back to it in a few steps.

Importing Contacts Into the Mac Address Book

The next step is to get your Outlook contacts into your Mac address book (simply called Contacts).

5. Open up Contacts on your Mac and go to File > Import. Select the TXT file you just exported and click Open.
Mac Contacts file import browse window

6. After you click Open you should see a template for your contacts that maps the fields from your Outlook contacts file to how information is stored in Mac Contacts. If you see this template card immediately and not a specific person’s contact information (see image below), check the Ignore first card checkbox and then click OK.
Mac Contacts template card window

If there are any duplicates in the import process, you’ll get the option to keep the old contact, keep the new contact, keep both, or update the existing contact with the one you’re importing.

This is totally up to you, but the best bet is to keep both contacts for all duplicates, since you’re going to run Scrubly later anyway. If you’re not planning on running Scrubly, then updating contacts is probably the way to go.

You can work through each duplicate one by one, or check the Apply to All box and then click Import.

Comparing duplicate contact info in Mac Contacts

When you’re done, you will most likely see some duplicates in your address book. This is OK, as the next step is removing them with Scrubly.

Removing Duplicate Contacts With Scrubly

With your Outlook for Mac 2011 contacts imported into your Mac Contacts, it’s time to get those duplicates cleaned out.

7. If you haven’t already done so, create an account at Scrubly.com and download the Mac client. This will upload your Mac Contacts to the Scrubly servers securely.

Scrubly.com signup page

8. Once you have the Mac client installed, log in with the information you used to sign up with and click Log in.
Scrubly login dialog box

9. You’ll be guided through the process of creating a new address book and uploading your contacts to Scrubly. When ready to send, click the Send button.

Scrubly Address Book Wizard dialog box
Depending on how many contacts you have, this can take a few minutes (1,000 contacts will take about 90 seconds, depending on your Internet connection).

10. Once your contacts are uploaded to the server, click Go to Scrubly Online. This will take you to Scrubly.com and log you in. If your contacts made it over successfully, you should see a “Congratulations!!” screen. Click Next to continue.

Scrubly congratulations screen

11. You can now start the Scrubly process by clicking Start Scrub. You can choose to do an Express Scrub, which will take less time but may not find all your issues, or the Deep Scrub, which takes more time but allows you much more confidence in your scrub.

Scrubly options box for Express Scrub and Deep Scrub

Duplicate contacts killing your productivity? See how Scrubly can help in this 100-second video.

Downloading Contacts Back to Mac Contacts

With the Scrubbing complete, it’s time to download your contacts back to your Mac.

Scrubbing Completed screen in Scrubly
12. Head back over to the Scrubly client for the Mac and click on Scrub > Download Scrubbed Contacts. Click Continue to begin the download process.

Scrubly Address Book Wizard window with contacts waiting

Now that your scrubbed contacts are back on your Mac, it’s time to get them back into Outlook.

Import Contacts Into Outlook for Mac 2011

The final step in this process is to import your cleaned contacts back into Outlook for Mac 2011. But first you need to back up your Outlook contacts and delete them so that your scrubbed contacts go in without a hitch and you can fix any issues that come up.

13. Open Outlook again and go to File > Export. This time, however, make sure the radio button next to Outlook for Mac Data File (.olm) is selected and uncheck every box EXCEPT for Contacts. See below for an example. Click the right arrow to continue.

Outlook for Mac 2011 Export window
14. Click the radio button next to Yes, delete items after they are exported and click the right arrow to continue. This will export a backup of your contacts as well as remove them all from your Outlook address book. Save the file to your desktop and click Save. Click the Done button to finish up.

Now when you click on Contacts in Outlook, it should be empty. The last step is getting your Mac contacts back into Outlook. This is the easiest part of the process.

15. Go back over to Contacts for your Mac and click on one of the contacts in the list. With that contact selected, hit Command + A on your keyboard to select all contacts.

16. With all contacts selected (highlighted), click File > Export > Export vCard.

Selecting Export vCard in Mac Contacts file menu

17. Enter a useful name into the box and click Save.

Save dialog box in Mac

18. Finally, drag the vCard file you just saved into the empty contacts list in Outlook for Mac 2011. This will add all the contacts from your Mac address book back to Outlook, but this time all scrubbed and clean.

Wrap-Up

While this is a major workaround to get your Outlook for Mac 2011 duplicate contacts removed, it’s currently the only way, as Microsoft doesn’t allow third-party apps like Scrubly direct access to Outlook and hasn’t updated its app to work with Mac Contacts.

This will not sync your address books, and once you’ve imported your scrubbed contacts back to Outlook, any contacts you add in Outlook or your Mac will be independent of one another. Right now there’s no way to sync these two contact lists, but with newer versions of Microsoft Office for Mac, this may change.

Scrubly social-sharing menu.

Scrubly sign-up.