How to Export Your Gmail Contacts

CSV button

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You can export all your address book data from Gmail to other email programs and services via CSV or vCard.

They Will Follow You

Gmail makes it easy to maintain an address book. Everybody with whom you communicate is automatically added to your ​Contacts. Of course, additional people and data can be entered as well.

What, though, if you want to move or copy your precious collection of correspondents—to another Gmail account, for example, or to a desktop email program such as Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird or Yahoo! Mail?

Fortunately, exporting contacts from Gmail is just as easy as accumulating them.

Export Your Gmail Contacts

To export your full Gmail address book:

  1. Open Gmail Contacts. Select Google apps in the upper right of your screen. The icon is a grid of boxes resembling an app launcher icon on an Android device.

    Google Apps menu

    A menu will open showing the available Google Apps. Choose Contacts.

  2. Select More in the Contacts side menu to display additional options, including Export.

    Google Contacts page
  3. Press Export… from the menu that has shown.

    Google Contacts with more expanded
  4. To export your entire address book, make sure All Contacts is selected under Which contacts do you want to export? You can also select a Google Contacts group for export.

    To export only the contacts you have manually added to your Gmail address book (excluding entries automatically created by Gmail—see below—and people in Contacts merely because you have circled them in Google+), make sure The Group My Contacts is selected under Which contacts do you want to export?

  5. For a maximum of compatibility, select Outlook CSV format (or Outlook CSV) under Which export format? Both Outlook CSV and Google CSV export all data. The Gmail format uses Unicode to preserve international characters under all circumstances, but some email programs—including Outlook—do not support that. Outlook CSV converts names to your default character encoding. As an alternative, you can use vCard; an internet standard also supported by many email programs and contact managers, most notably OS X Mail and Contacts

    Export Google Contacts
  6. Select Export.

  7. Download the "gmail-to-outlook.csv" (Outlook CSV), "gmail.csv" (Google CSV) or "contacts.vcf" file to your Desktop.

Importing your contacts into another or restoring them to the original Gmail account is easy, of course.

Contacts Automatically Added by Gmail

Are you wondering why the list and file of contacts are so huge? Gmail has been adding new entries to your address book as you used it. Gmail automatically creates a new contact every time you reply to an email or forward it to a new address.

These new automatic entries are found under Other Contacts in Gmail Contacts.

How to Disable Automatic Gmail Contacts

To prevent Gmail from adding new addresses to your Contacts automatically:

  1. Click the Settings gear icon in Gmail.

  2. Select Settings from the menu that appears.

    Gmail settings menu
  3. Go to the General tab.

  4. Make sure I'll add contacts myself is selected under Create contacts for auto-complete.

    Disable automatic contact addition on Gmail
  5. Click Save Changes.