Getting started — Create an address book and add contacts

Learn to create a new address book and add contacts to it.


Every email address you store in your account is known as an email contact. Contacts can have all kinds of data associated with them in addition to their email address, for example, name, gender, birthday, preferences, purchases they’ve made from you, and so on.

To learn more, you can check out:

You can use address books to organise your contacts. You can also select these address books during the campaign sending process, or use them to create segments of contacts.

Segments are dynamic lists of contacts that meet certain criteria defined by you. To learn more, check out the article Segmentation overview.

Create an address book

To view your address books, go to Contacts > All contacts. Your account includes two system address books by default, which behave differently in some circumstances to the address books you create. For example, you can’t view analytics for these address books, nor can you edit their properties:


  • All contacts is your account’s master contact list. It contains all of your non-suppressed email contacts.
    Suppressed contacts are stored on your account’s suppression list and cannot be emailed. To learn more, check out Understand email contact suppression reasons.
  • Test is the list of contacts you can test send campaigns to. Your Test address book can contain a maximum of 200 contacts. Any contact you want to perform a test send to must be included in the Test address book.
    To learn more, check out Test send an email campaign.

To create a new address book:

  1. Go to Contacts > All contacts.
  3. Under Create address book, enter a name for your address book.
    Expand the Folder drop-down menu and choose a folder to store your address book in. If you don’t have a folder ready, you can move the address book at a later time.
    You can also optionally enter a Description for your address book.
    For the moment, don't worry about the Users allowed to send to this address book option. But, if you'd like to learn more about this, check out the article Restrict who can send to specific contacts.
  4. Select SAVE.

You‘re now ready to upload your contacts into the address book.

Add contacts to your address book

There are a variety of ways to add contacts to your address books. For, example:

  • Add contacts individually to an address book in-app.
  • Manually upload contacts in bulk from a .csv, .txt or Excel file.
  • Create a signup form to allow contacts to sign themselves up to your communications.
    To learn more, check out the article Create a signup form.
  • Automate bulk imports using the Import data function.
    To learn more, check out the article Using the scheduled contact importer.
  • Make use of one of our integrations to import contacts from a CRM or ecommerce platform.
    To learn more, check out the Integrations area of the Help Centre.
  • Add contacts to your account using the Dotdigital API.
    To learn more, check out our API documentation.

Duplicate email addresses

If you import a list of contacts which includes duplicated email addresses, we remove any duplicates so that each unique email address is only added to your account once.

To begin with, let’s look at how to add an individual contact, and how to upload a file of contacts.

Add an individual contact

To add an individual contact to an address book:

  1. Go to Contacts > All contacts, locate the address book you want to add a contact to and select the Add contacts icon.
    If you have just created the address book, you are taken to the Add contacts screen automatically on saving the new address book.
  2. Select Add an individual contact.
  3. In the window that opens, enter the email address for the contact.
    You’re taken to the Single customer view for your new contact.
    To learn more, check out the article Single customer view.
  4. To add additional contact information, select the Contact details tab. The system will try to complete the Name fields for the contact based on the email address you entered. You can edit this data if you need to, and enter values into the other fields. If you make changes, select SAVE to confirm.
    If you have custom data fields in your account and want to add data to them for the new contact, select the Data fields tab. You can also create a new data field from this tab.

Add a list of contacts from an Excel or CSV file

File size limit

The maximum file size for an Excel or CSV file upload is 10MB.

To upload a file of contacts to an address book:

  1. Go to Contacts > All contacts, locate the address book you want to import contacts to and select the Add contacts icon.
    If you have just created the address book, you are taken to the Add contacts screen automatically on saving the new address book.
  2. Select Add a list of contacts from an Excel or CSV file.
  3. On the Import contacts screen, select CHOOSE FILE and locate the file you want to upload on your computer.
    You have the following options for the import:
    1. Email address to notify - large imports can take a while; if you'd like to be notified by email when the import is complete, enter an email address here. The logged in user's email address is automatically populated, but you can edit it if you want to. To receive no notification, clear the field.
    2. Encoding type - Our system defaults to the Latin alphabet. If you're importing email addresses containing Cyrillic letters, for example, then you might want to pick an appropriate character set encoding. If you’re unsure, Unicode (UTF-8) handles most characters.
  4. When you’re ready to upload your file, select Upload.
  5. You’re taken to the Data mapping page. Here you can choose the columns you want to import from your file. To do this, expand the relevant drop-down menu and select a data field which matches the type of data held by the file column. For example, for the column of your import file that contains your contacts’ first names, select the firstname data field.
    Where your column names match an existing data field name, the system maps the column for you automatically. If your column names differ from data field names, select CHANGE SETTINGS and select the First row contains column names checkbox.
    Leave the selection as - skip column - if you don't want to import the column.
    Select Add new data field if you want to create a new contact data field to map a column to.
  6. Optionally, select the Show advanced settings checkbox to set your Data field options:
    1. Update all data fields - update all of the existing contact data fields with the data held in the import file.
    2. Don’t update data fields with blank values - prevent existing data in contact data fields from being updated with any imported blank values.
    3. Don’t update data fields that already have a value - retain any existing values in contact data fields and only import new data into fields that are currently blank.
      If you are uploading a .csv or txt file type, you can access additional formatting options. To do this, select CHANGE SETTINGS. To learn more, check out the section How to map your contact data.
  7. When you’re happy with your data mapping settings, select FINISH.

Once complete, you see a report displaying the result of the import process. If any records failed to import successfully, a file of those contacts who were not imported is available for you to download. To do this, select DOWNLOAD UNIMPORTED ADDRESSES.

If your import contained any problematic data, you might see a message that the import has been quarantined by the Dotdigital Data Watchdog. You can contact our Support team for further information if this happens.

To learn more, check out the article About the Data Watchdog.

Next steps

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