January 01, 2009

Import Verizon Backup Assistant Contacts for BlackBerry Storm to Outlook using Firefox

(* Edited 11/20/2011 DS - Good news - this old posting from early 2009 can now easily be accomplished using Verizon tools: To sync Outlook to Verizon phone: (1) Set up Backup Assistant on the phone; (2) Use Backup Assistant to import Outlook contacts .csv; (3) sync should happen automatically. For instructions on generating a .csv from Outlook, see instructions below.*)

As a new owner of a new Blackberry Storm, I was disappointed to hear that there was no way to import my contacts from my old phone that I had stored in Verizon's Backup Assistant web app. After finding out how contacts work with the Storm, I thought I'd create a script that can convert Backup Assistant contacts to contacts that can be sync'ed to the Storm and share it for anyone else having the same problem.

(* Edited 2/26/09 DS - IE and Firefox versions now exist... Tested in IE Version 7+ and Firefox Version 3+.*)
One caveat... right now it only works in Firefox, so you'll need to download Firefox if you don't have it.
You will also need MS Outlook (that's what the Storm uses to sync contacts), and the Desktop Manager software, which comes with the Storm. And obviously, you'll have to have your old contacts backed up using Verizon Backup Assistant.

Here's a step-by-step overview of how to do it:

1. Get Firefox if you don't have it. Make sure you are running Firefox Version 3 and above or IE Version 7 or above.
2. Go to http://www.verizonwireless.com/backupassistant
3. Select "Print Address Book" (must allow popups)
4. Select all page text (Ctrl+a)

Edited 6/15/09 DS - Some browsers have problems processing the headers:
"I think the problem is you shouldn't do "CRTL+A" and get *everything*. Just highlight starting at the first entry and continue to the last one. Don't include "Backup Assistant Contacts", "Print Address Book", "Name", and so on."

5. Copy (Ctrl+c)
6. Go to The Backup Assistant to Outlook conversion script page
7. Paste text into top textbox
8. Click the "Convert to Outlook CSV text" button
9. Select all text from bottom text box
10. Create a new text file using Notepad/Wordpad, paste in text
11. Save the file with .csv extension
11a.(you may want to examine this file in Excel before importing to Outlook)
11b.(* Edited 1/28/09 DS - You may want to think about adding email and other info into the spreadsheet now - it's way easier to do it here than in Outlook.*)
12. Open Outlook, select File... Import and Export... Import from another program or file
13. Select Comma separated files (Windows)
14. Browse to the .csv file choose overwrite or duplicate
15. For destination folder, select "Contacts", select next, finish.

You should now see your newly created contacts in Outlook

Now plug your Storm into your PC/Laptop, launch Desktop Manager

16. Select the synchronize button/area
17. Set up synchronization for contacts
18. Synchronize

All of your Outlook Contacts should now appear under your Blackberry Contacts.

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