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Chapter 12. Import and Export > Import/Export: Not Just for File Transfer

12.4. Import/Export: Not Just for File Transfer

Outlook has a glaring omission in its feature list: there is no way to Search and Replace a text string. This presents a vexing problem if you have a field (or fields) that changes for a large group of entries. One of the most common examples is when a new area code is added to a region. You could, of course, filter your contacts to show only those affected and manually edit each record. But there is a better way—export the data you want to change to a program with search-and-replace capabilities, make the required changes, and import the changes back into Outlook.

The following example walks you through this process. We'll use the area code quandary and Access to make the required changes. The following technique can be extrapolated to any Outlook item type and any external program. We chose contacts because they are the most likely candidates for a global change. Our choice of Access reflects the fact that Outlook supports the Access file format (.mdb) extremely well, and Access has the Search/Replace capabilities Outlook lacks.


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