February 26, 2009

Importing Verizon Backup Assistant Contacts to Outlook for Blackberry and other smart phone devices

(* 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.*)
Recently, I posted the code I had used to import my Verizon Backup Assistant contacts into Outlook, so I didn't have to re-enter all my contacts manually. I originally wrote it because I needed it for my Blackberry Storm, but really it's usable for any phone that uses Outlook to sync up Contacts. Also the original script required Firefox, and I've rewritten it to be browser neutral.

I'll repeat the steps, revised for IE and non-Storm specific.

You will need MS Outlook, obviously, since that's what we're targeting. (that's what the Storm and many other smartphones use to sync contacts). And of course you'll have to have your old contacts backed up using Verizon Backup Assistant, since that's our source for contacts.

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

  1. Make sure you are running Firefox Version 3 and above or IE Version 7 or above. (If you have earlier versions, You can still test them out for me, and I've supplied a feedback link).

  2. Go to http://www.verizonwireless.com/backupassistant

  3. Select "Print Address Book" (must allow popups)

  4. Select all page text (Ctrl+a)

  5. 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."

  6. Copy (Ctrl+c)

  7. Go to the Backup Assistant to Outlook conversion script page

  8. Paste text into top textbox

  9. Click the "Convert to Outlook CSV text" button

  10. Select all text from bottom text box

  11. Create a new text file using Notepad/Wordpad, paste in text

  12. Save the file with .csv extension

  13. (you may want to examine this file in Excel before importing to Outlook)

  14. Also, 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.

  15. Open Outlook, select File... Import and Export... Import from another program or file

  16. Select Comma separated files (Windows)

  17. Browse to the .csv file choose overwrite or duplicate

  18. For destination folder, select "Contacts", select next, finish.

You should now see your newly created contacts in Outlook.

Optional Steps for Blackberry users to import from Outlook -> Blackberry:

  1. Now plug your Storm into your PC/Laptop

  2. Launch Desktop Manager

  3. Select the synchronize button/area

  4. Set up synchronization for contacts

  5. Synchronize

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

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  1. You state that you will let us dinosaurs using older versions of IE to test this method, but when I click the link provided it stops me because I have an old version of IE.

    I'm doing this from work, and therefore do not have the ability to upgrade. Is there a link I can use to do this with an older version of IE?


  2. You should have gotten a link anyway into the IE exporter. Here's a direct link into the IE Exporter. Let me know if you have any issues.

  3. Dude, that was awesome. Worked liek a charm. Thanks!

  4. Dan,

    I can see all my contact data in the top window. When it converts all I get is empty data fields (see sample below). I am using FF 3.0.10

    (Ex: /0/00",,,,,"","SMTP","",,,,,,,"",,,,"",,"","","",,,"Imported from verizonwireless.com Backup Assistant using Dan Shultz's conversion script. "

  5. This works really well; However, you will have to go back through each imported record and delete the advertising message that it posts to each record in the NOTES field.

  6. Dan,
    What a great conversion tool! Thanks so much!!!! By the way, what type of code/script did you use? I've always wanted to learn to do this type of text conversion.



  7. Wow!! This is great- Thank you sooo much!! Wish I had found this a few days ago before I bought some cable & program off ebay to do the same thing!! Now I can transfer my contacts to any phone and I can resell the stuff I bought!! Woohoo!!

  8. Thanks for this!

  9. Wow! This was flawless! Thank you so much!

  10. Do you know of any way to go the other way... from Outlook to Verizon Backup Assistant?

  11. You are amazing! You saved my poor thumbs from typing a bunch of contacts again!!! Thank you so much for your effort!

  12. Is there a way to do this in reverse? I'm trying to get outlook contacts into a non pda phone. Verizon says there is no integration between outlook and backup assistant. I know this translates to, "there is no integration without a 'nominal fee'". I'd love to find a solution to this without having to break contract and unlock a phone.

  13. I don't think so... the Backup Assistant is an app that runs on specific phone, sending your contact data of unknown format to a Verizon web service at an unknown address. I'd need to find out the unknowns plus what security tokens would need to be passed.

  14. I was just doing this for a new phone I got and it looks like Backup Assistant supports some sort of CSV export, now.

  15. Thanks! Good to know for the future. I've already done it manually now. Wasn't going to donate any more $ to V for the possibility of their transfer.

  16. Can anyone recommend the well-priced Software Deployment tool for a small IT service company like mine? Does anyone use Kaseya.com or GFI.com? How do they compare to these guys I found recently: N-able N-central it consulting
    ? What is your best take in cost vs performance among those three? I need a good advice please... Thanks in advance!

  17. I have a BB Tour which now has almost 10,00 contacts. Of these approximately 6,00 are duplicates; which appeared after upgrading from previous blackberry devices and verizon using the cellbrite method of transferring contacts from phone to phone. Is there any way to remove the duplicate listings from the Tour easily? I have owned Palm OS phones in the past and in the Palm software there is an option to remove duplicates. I have not yet found a way to accomplish this in the bb system.

  18. Just wondering if there is a way to sync directly or indirectly between palm pilot contacts and samsung gusto on verizon. Once I can get contact info on phone, I'll then use wireless backup to preserve info. Even then, I only want to update in one place and then transfer, so I may need to understand the protocol for future application as well. Thanks in advance.

  19. 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.