Google’s Gmail has a handy little interface to import and export contacts in CSV format which will allow for easy synchronization between Outlook’s contacts and Gmail’s contacts without having to install some third party software. Most people will typically be making the switch to use more Outlook thus needing to import contacts into Gmail from Outlook so below the first set of instructions explains how to do so. The second set of instructions will explain how to export from Google in Outlook CSV format and then import back into Outlook. Both import functions provide a merge so duplicates can be kept to a minimum or really even zero duplicates.
First lets look at how to export Outlook contacts to a CSV file and then import that CSV file into Gmail.
- Open Outlook Import and Export Wizard: Open Microsoft Outlook, click on File in the top navigation, and select Import and Export from the drop down. The below image shows the Import and Export Wizard that will open.
- Export to File: Highlight “Export to a file” and click the Next button which will open the below configuration window.
- CSV Format: Highlight “Comma Separated Values (DOS)” and click the Next button which will open the below configuration window.
- Export Contacts: Highlight the “Contacts” you want to export and click the Next button which will open the configuration window below.
- Save Exported File As:Now choose the location and name for the file you where you want to save the contacts as shown in the image above. Make sure to use a .csv ending and then click the Next button which will open the final file export confirmation window below.
- Confirm File Export: Verify you have chosen the correct Contacts folder and click the Finish button to begin the Contacts export. You also have the choice here to map custom fields but since we are importing into Gmail this is not necessary.
- Open Gmail Contacts Import: Open Gmail, click on Contacts in the left navigation, and then click on Import in the top right of the now opened Contacts window. The Contacts Import area will look like the below.
- Import Outlook CSV File: Now click the Browse button, locate the CSV file you exported from Outlook on your computer, double click on that file as shown below to set the path in the Gmail “Please select a file to upload” field, and then click the Import button. You can also set a group for these contacts to be imported into if you want to separate them from the rest of your Gmail contacts for any reason.
- Save and Verify: Once Gmail is finished importing the file you will see a message like the below. Verify your contacts have been imported properly and then click OK. All of your contacts should now be displayed in Gmail. Gmail has a great merge feature as well as it does a great job of not importing duplicates.
- We have imported all 26 contacts found in the uploaded file.
- 5 contacts have been ignored because they were duplicates of other contacts.
Because this is so easy to do and Gmail does a great job of merging contacts and/or not adding duplicates I chose this solution versus a third party solution like KiGoo. If I needed real time syncing or a one click solution because I was always adding new contacts then I would consider using something like KiGoo instead.
I do use a Google Calendar add-on called Google Calendar Sync which does sync my calendar items once every 2 hours. So between my Blackberry and Outlook they sync using Blackberry’s desktop software. Outlook and Google Calendar are synced using the Google Calendar Sync application which is light weight so I don’t mind running it.
We the above solutions along with forwarding all of my mail to Gmail and setting up IMAP access I have access to all Exchange type features that I use from anywhere on the web now when I am not at home. I am really impressed with the changes I have been able to make to the way my contacts, email, and overall organization are stored on the web now thanks to Google.