OK, so maybe this isn’t a “complete” guide, but it brings together many of the bits and pieces of tutorials I have found for importing contacts into Gmail from several of the major email and address book applications. Feel free to add or suggest additional ones in the comments, but as I have mentioned in other tutorials, I am only posting to be helpful (use at your own risk, etc, etc). This does not make me your technical support for life.
With the release of Verizon’s DROID, and with several other new Android phones on the way, more and more people are making the switch from older PDAs and smart phones to Android. A big part of this involves moving contacts (names, addresses, and emails) over to Gmail, which syncs with Android. Many of us have accumulated contact information over time using other applications such as Outlook or Palm Desktop. This guide is meant to help people import contacts easily into Gmail, which will then sync automatically with their Android devices. Gmail offers a way to import contacts from other email applications and address books (up to 3000 contacts at a time).
The entire process can be divided into two main parts: (1) exporting contacts from the old program, and (2) importing contacts into Gmail. Part 1 depends on which program you are exporting from. Part 2 will be the same for all programs.
Part 1: Exporting contacts into a CSV file
CSV stands for “comma-separated value,” which is the type of file you will need to import your contacts into Gmail. The exported CSV file needs to list contact information in a certain order, but email programs such as Outlook will take care of this for you (I think Mozilla Thunderbird will too, but I haven’t tried it myself). Other programs, such as Apple’s Address Book and Palm Desktop, export contacts using a different format called vCard. It takes an extra step, but these exports can be converted to a CSV formatted for Gmail using a simple, free web application. So start by selecting from the email applications below.
Exporting contacts from Outlook
(tutorial credit: Microsoft)
- In Outlook, on the File menu, click Import and Export.
- Click Export to a file, and then click Next.
- Click Comma Separated Value (DOS), and then click Next.
- In the folder list, click the contacts folder you want to export, and then click Next.
- Choose a location on your computer to temporarily save the file.
- Type a name for the exported file, and then click OK.
- Click Next.
- Click Finish.
Exporting contacts from Apple’s Address Book
To export contacts from Apple’s Address Book application simply select all of the contacts you want to export, and drag them to your desktop. Now you need to convert the addresses from vCard format to Gmail’s CSV format. Click on this vCard to CSV Converter link. Click “browse,” and navigate to the file with all the contacts you just exported. Next to the word “Format” select “Gmail (CSV).” You don’t have to change anything else. Click the “convert” button and it will give you a file to download. This is the file you will use to import your contacts into Gmail in part 2.
Exporting contacts from Palm Desktop
First, start up the Palm Desktop program and click the Contacts or Address Book icon in the left-hand column (whichever one’s there). Then go to the File menu and select “Export . . .” Then pick “vCard” as your export type and save the file to someplace convenient. Now you need to convert the addresses from vCard format to Gmail’s CSV format. Click on this vCard to CSV Converter link. Click “browse,” and navigate to the file with all the contacts you just exported. Next to the word “Format” select “Gmail (CSV).” You don’t have to change anything else. Click the “convert” button and it will give you a file to download. This is the file you will use to import your contacts into Gmail in part 2.
Exporting contacts from other mail providers
Google has a good tutorial on how to export contacts from other email providers here.
Part 2: Importing CSV files into Gmail
Once you have a CSV formatted file containing your contacts, here is how you import it into Gmail (tutorial credit: Google):
- Sign in to Gmail.
- Click Contacts (located below your list of views, usually on the bottom, left) on any Gmail page.
- Click Import in the top portion of the Contact Manager.
- Click the Browse… or Choose File button and locate the CSV file you’d like to upload.
- Select the file and click the Import button.
Once you’ve successfully uploaded the document, Gmail will display the number of contacts imported, as well as any duplicates or contacts that could not be imported.This definitely beats entering all your addresses in by hand!
What about Calendars?
Someone asked me about transferring calendar info to Android, which can be done with any program that will synchronize with Google calendar at least once. It really depends on which mobile device or calendar program you are currently using, so here are a few options for syncing other devices with Google calendar (I’m sure there are many others):
- Outlook: http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?answer=89955 (free Google app)
- Palm: http://www.palminfocenter.com/news/9087/new-google-calendar-palm-sync-tool/ (free and paid options)
- Blackberry (and other phones): http://www.gcalsync.com/ (free PC app)