Importing Contacts into Gmail

Gmail, gmail, gmail. Everyone is going gmail nutty. What’s worse than elitism? Nerd elitism, that’s what.

Ah well. For all of you lucky dogs that have gmail accounts, here’s a little tip. One of the things that has annoyed me is how to get my Mac OS X address book contents into Gmail. I’ve heard about the trick of redirecting email with all of your contact’s addresses in either the To or CC fields, but that means sending everyone in your address book an email - not a very polite (or efficient) method.

It turns out that Google does provide a way of importing contacts into Gmail, but it’s a bit strange. This only works for Mac OS X users - sorry Windows folks, but I have no idea what might work with Windows. If you do, please post it in the comments.

  1. Comma-Separated. First, you need to export your Mac OS X address book contents as comma-separated. Luckily, Ken Ferry has done the heavy lifting and created a small application that will do this for you:
    Check out the AddressBooktoCSV page, or download the application (39.6kbs).
    Run the application and export your contacts to a .csv file (default filename: contacts.csv.
  2. Camino 0.7. For some reason, the only browser I have found that actually displays the Gmail “Import” feature is Camino 0.7. Nothing else I have tried works - even the later versions of Camino or any other Gecko-based browsers don’t work, nor do Internet Explorer (Mac or Windows), Opera, or Safari.
    Download Camino 0.7 (7.6mbs)
    Gmail will say that Camino 0.7 isn’t supported - log in with it anyway.
  3. Import them contacts. Click on “Contacts”. The Contacts pop-up window will appear, and you will see the following:


    Click on the Browse button, navigate your hard drive, and select the comma-separated file you created in step one. Click Import Contacts and that’s it!

Again, I have absolutely no clue why Camino 0.7 is the only browser that displays this import feature, but I’m glad at least something works. If anyone else discovers other browsers that work, please post them in the comments.

Update July 7, 2004: It looks like Google has added the ability for all browsers to import contacts as CSV files, so most of this post is now moot. You can still use AddressBooktoCSV to export your Mac OS X address book, though, so all is not lost.

ISSN 1499-7894
Recent Posts
Contact Archives Web Love Writing Photos FAQs Home