How to Import Your Gmail Contacts into Mozilla Thunderbird

Keep Your Contacts with You Wherever You Read Your Email

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Many people use more than one email address and more than one address book, but regularly checking several different email clients is no fun. If you have a favorite email provider, you can probably import email from all of your email clients into the email interface of your choice. If you access your Gmail account in Mozilla Thunderbird, it makes sense to export your Gmail contacts to Mozilla Thunderbird too, so you'll have them available wherever you are.

You may have decided you prefer using Thunderbird more than Gmail or maybe you like to have your contacts—the more, the better—in as many places as possible. No matter the reason, you can copy your Gmail address book to Mozilla Thunderbird.

Import Your Gmail Contacts In Mozilla Thunderbird

To export your Gmail address book and import it into Mozilla Thunderbird, you must first save your Gmail contacts as a contacts.csv file.

  1. Open Gmail.

  2. Select the apps icon next to your profile picture in the upper right of the screen.

    Gmail apps menu open
  3. When the list of available apps appears, select Contacts.

  4. On the Contacts screen, turn your attention to the menu on the left, and press Export.

    Gmail contacts page
  5. Select Outlook CSV from the formatting options.

  6. Press Export to generate the contacts.csv file.

    Gmail export contacts

Then comes the finicky part—importing the contacts.csv file into Thunderbird.

  1. Select Tools > Import from the menu in Mozilla Thunderbird.

    Thunderbird tools menu open
  2. Make sure Address Books is selected.

    Thunderbird select address book import
  3. Press Next.

  4. Highlight Text file (LDIF,.tab,.csv,.txt) under Please select the program from which you would like to import.

    Thunderbird select import file type
  5. Press Next.

  6. Locate the contacts.csv file you just created in Gmail, and select it.

  7. Press Open.

  8. Make sure First record contains field names is checked. You can safely leave the defaults here, but if you want to alter the entries, refer to the next step.

    Thunderbird edit contact fields import
  9. Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to match Mozilla Thunderbird address book fields on the left with Gmail fields on the right. Make sure at least Primary Email aligns with E-mail Address and Last Name aligns with Name. (Gmail has a unified name field and does not distinguish between first and last names.)

  10. Use the Next button at the top to see what the import process will produce.

  11. Press OK.

  12. Press Finish.

    Thunderbird contacts import complete

In your Mozilla Thunderbird address book, you will now find a folder named "contacts" with all imported Gmail contacts.