Moving from Outlook, Mail or Thunderbird to Gmail can be a real chore. But here we’ll show the easy way to import your contacts into a new client.
Moving from Outlook, Mail or Thunderbird to Gmail can be a real chore. If you have all of your contacts saved into a single vCard or VCF file exported from Outlook or Mail or whatever email client you were using before, then importing contacts into Gmail is significantly easier. But if you made the unfortunate mistake of exporting each of your contacts as its own .vcf file, then it’s going to be a major pain to import each vCard individually.
Luckily, you don’t have to. This groovy How-to will show you the fastest and easiest ways to get vCards, VCF files and exported email contacts into Gmail.
Update 10/16/2012: Gmail has changed its look and feel since we first wrote this tutorial. We’ve updated it with new screenshots and details pertinent to the new Gmail.
Importing vCards into Gmail
Importing contacts into Gmail couldn’t be easier if you have an exported vCard or CSV file.
Click Contacts. If you are using the Compact display density in Gmail like me, the Contacts link is hiding in a drop-down menu that appears when you click Gmail in the top-left.
Click More and choose Import…
Click Choose File and browse to the VCF or CSV file that you exported from another email program.
Choose a group to add the contacts to (optional) and Click Import. Done! Your new contacts will automatically be added to the group called Imported MM/DD/YYYY. Click the new group on the left to confirm the contacts have been imported and sort them into more meaningful groups.
Note: If you’re having trouble with VCF files, try exporting as a CSV instead. This often solves the error message: “Sorry, we could not recognize the file format.”
Combining Multiple VCF or CSV Files for Importing
Unfortunately, there isn’t any batch import for VCF and CSV contacts in Gmail. A workaround for this is to take all your vCard or exported contact files and combine them into a single file and then upload that one master file.
Launch a command prompt by Clicking the Start button and typing Cmd and pressing Enter.
Go to the directory where your exported contacts are located.
COPY *.csv combinedfile.csv
and Press Enter. Or, if you’re combining .vcf files, type
COPY *.vcf combinedfile.vcf
Upload the newly created CSV or VCF file using the steps above.
Combining Exported Contacts in OS X
To perform this same task in OS X, launch Terminal, go to the directory that has your exported contacts and type:
fmt -sp *.vcf > combinedfile.vcf
fmt -sp *.csv > combinedfile.csv
And that’s all. Congratulations, you just saved yourself an afternoon’s worth of menial data entry.