How to Open and Access Gmail Contacts

You Gmail contacts — hidden in plain sight

Illustration of a smartphone with a contact icon on it; three smaller illustrations of the benefits of Gmail contacts

Lifewire / Emilie Dunphy

Managing your contacts in Gmail is simple. From adding and editing people to the list to syncing your Gmail contacts with your Google+ account, there are some great features available if you know where to click.

How to Open and Access Gmail Contacts

To open your Gmail address book in a desktop browser:

  1. Open Gmail in any browser.

  2. Click on the Apps icon in the upper right.

    Apps icon in Gmail web page on Chrome
  3. Click on Contacts, which will open a new window with all your contacts in it.

    Contacts icon in Apps section of Gmail

Older versions of Gmail had a different method of accessing Contacts. If you haven't yet converted to the new Gmail interface, try the following.

  1. Open your Gmail account screen.

  2. Click the word Gmail at the top of the left panel right under the Google name.

  3. Select Contacts from the drop-down menu to open the Google Contacts screen and open the Contacts folders in the left panel of the Gmail screen.

  4. Alternatively, you can also access Contacts by:

    • Using a keyboard shortcut. Press the g key followed immediately by the c key in Gmail to list your Contacts folders in the left panel (instead of your email folders).
    • Enter into the URL field directly to open your Gmail screen with the contacts folders listed on the left panel.
  5. There, you should find all of the contacts you have stored in Google.

Working With Gmail Contacts

With Contacts selected at the top of the Gmail left panel, you can:

  • Open all your contacts or just the starred contacts.
  • View your most contacted people.
  • Form new groups of contacts.
  • Import contacts from other providers.

Features of Gmail Contacts

Contacts screen in Gmail via the web

One of the things that users enjoy most about Gmail is that it is easy to use with the other aspects of your Google account from Google+ and YouTube to Google Photos.

When it comes to Contacts, specifically, you will find it easy to add people you interact with on Google+ and YouTube. There are also many useful features you should know about when it comes to managing Contacts in Gmail:

  • Gmail keeps track of people you frequently contact and adds them to a Frequently Contacted list. You can then add those people to your main contact list.
  • Gmail Contacts automatically merges info and details that your contacts choose to share. 
  • Your contacts are integrated with Google+ so you can easily add people in your circles to your contact list. Some people choose not to share their email address on Google+, but you can use Contacts to access their profile pages. 
  • There is no need to worry about duplicate contacts — they're automatically cleaned up. If you want to check for duplicates, click Duplicates in the left panel of the Google Contacts screen.
  • You can group contacts together. For example, you might want to keep your business contacts separate from your personal contacts or create a group for a particular project you're working on so you can easily email them all in one go.
  • Gmail gives you the ability to quickly import, export, or print an entire list of contacts.