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For many years my employers have kept a separate program for storing the companies contact information (name, email, phone, website, postal address etc) but at last I have convinced them that contact information can be accessed using Outlook.

My question is what is the best way to import contact information into Microsoft Exchange?

My setup is as follows the data can be exported into a csv file for importing. Users will be accessing via Outlook 2003 or via owa or via a mobile device (Blackberry or Iphone)

I am thinking that I need to import all the contacts into a public folder which everyone has access to. Is this the best way to do it?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I would check out this link. Microsoft has been trying to remove Public Folders from Exchange for a while now in favor of pushing SharePoint out to the masses. You can certainly store contacts in SharePoint or Exchange. The link above discusses using PowerShell to import a CSV file as External Contact records.

My only other suggestion may be to setup a separate Address Book so you don't mix all of the external contacts in the primary Global Address book. This also allows you to control who can see them down the road.

EDIT: I just noticed that the link I provided deals with Exchange on the web and Outlook Live (aka O365) Either way, the commands should be similar if not exact.

EDIT 2: Multiple address book options and steps

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Except in Exchange 2013 public folders are back with a vengeance. :) – SpacemanSpiff Nov 14 '12 at 14:55
That's true, it just doesn't make any sense for contacts to be stored that way, at least not in my mind. You miss out on having them integrated into the Address Book feature of Outlook, that may all change in 2013, but I haven't gotten to play much with that. – Brent Pabst Nov 14 '12 at 14:57
Yeah... I'm looking for a good way to do this myself. In the past I would create a service mailbox and have that "user" share an address book. I don't think that lets offline and mobile users view the contact list though. – SpacemanSpiff Nov 14 '12 at 15:07
@SpacemanSpiff Yea, check out Edit 2 in my answer, looks pretty cool. – Brent Pabst Nov 14 '12 at 15:15
Methinks... I want to use Sharepoint, lol. – SpacemanSpiff Nov 14 '12 at 15:24

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