Importing Google Contacts

By Terry Hawthorne

You can import your contacts into Google Apps with a CSV (Comma Separated Value) file. A CSV file is a plain text file that represents a table. Each line in the text file represents a row in the table. The values in each line (first name, last name, email address, etc.) are separated by commas. The first line in the text file may be a header row that identifies the columns; for example:

First Name,Last Name,Email Address

If you saved this sample text and imported it into Google Apps, you would have my name and email address in your contacts. It doesn't make much sense to create a CSV file to import a single contact. Google lets you import up to 3,000 contacts per CSV file; just put each contact on a separate line. If you have more than 3,000 contacts, you will have to create multiple CSV files.

You can create CSV files with any program that can create plain text files, such as Notepad, Wordpad, or a spreadsheet program that can save files in CSV format. (Microsoft Excel can do this.)

You can also import much more information than the contact's name and email address. The following table shows all of the contact values that Google recognizes. (I created it by entering a sample contact manually in Google Apps, then exporting that contact.) Here is a CSV template file that you can use if you want to import more than just first name, last name, and email address. This template will default to opening in Microsoft Excel on Windows systems. It contains all of the columns recognized by Google Apps' contacts. Using this template does require a basic knowledge of Excel. When you save it, Excel may warn you that some features cannot be saved in the current format (the CSV text format) and will offer to save it in Excel format for you. Ignore the warning and save it as a CSV file; you cannot import Excel files into Google Apps.

Importing Contacts Into Google Apps

  1. Log into your Google Apps account and go to Mail.
  2. Click the Contacts link on the left side of the page.
  3. Click the Import link located in the upper right-hand corner of the Contacts page.
  4. Click the Browse button, select your CSV import file, then click Open.
  5. Click the Import button.
Google Column NameSample Data
NameJohn Doe
Given NameJohn
Additional NameR.
Family NameDoe
Yomi* Name 
Given Name Yomi 
Additional Name Yomi 
Family Name Yomi 
Name PrefixMr.
Name SuffixJr., III, etc.
Short Name 
Maiden Name 
Billing Information 
Directory Server 
Group Membership* My Contacts
E-mail 1 - TypeHome
E-mail 1 -
E-mail 2 - Type* Work
E-mail 2 -
Phone 1 - TypeWork
Phone 1 - Value123-555-1212
Phone 2 - TypeMobile
Phone 2 - Value123-555-1234
Phone 3 - TypeHome
Phone 3 - Value123-555-8974
Phone 4 - TypeWork Fax
Phone 4 - Value123-555-9632
Address 1 - TypeWork
Address 1 - Formatted 
Address 1 - Street121 Main ST
Address 1 - CityMarion
Address 1 - PO Box 
Address 1 - RegionVA
Address 1 - Postal Code24354
Address 1 - CountryUSA
Address 1 - Extended Address 
Organization 1 - TypeWork
Organization 1 - NameSmyth County School Board
Organization 1 - Yomi Name 
Organization 1 - TitleThird Grade Teacher
Organization 1 - Department 
Organization 1 - Symbol 
Organization 1 - Location 
Organization 1 - Job Description 
Website 1 - TypeWork
Website 1 -

*I am not certain, but I think that Yomi refers to phonetic pronunciations of non-Western names. Back to top