Merge your Outlook and Gmail contacts

Combine the names and e-mail addresses stored in your client- and Web-based accounts.

Dennis O'Reilly Former CNET contributor
Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.
Dennis O'Reilly
2 min read

I spend most of my workday Alt-Tabbing between my Gmail inbox and the Outlook account on my employer's Exchange Server. The problem is, when it comes to contacts, there isn't much overlap between the two: Only a handful of Gmail addresses are also in the Outlook contacts list, and vice-versa.

Rectifying the situation takes only a few minutes. Start by moving your Outlook contacts to Gmail. In Outlook 2003 and 2007, click File > Import and Export, select "Export to a file," click Next, choose either comma-separated value option, and click Next again. Browse to and select your Contacts folder, click Next again, choose the Browse button, pick a location for the file, give it a name with the .csv extension, click OK, and click Next once more. Verify the action and click Finish.

Microsoft Outlook 2007 Export to a file wizard
Verify the export action to move Outlook contacts to Gmail. Microsoft

After the file-export finishes (it can take a while), open Gmail, click Contacts on the left, and choose Import at the top right. Click Browse and navigate to and select the file you just exported. You can create a new group for the contacts by choosing "Also add these imported contacts to" before you click Import. You'll be prompted to give the group a name.

Gmail's contact-import settings
Select the .csv file you exported from Outlook to import your contacts to Gmail. Google

Once the file is imported, you'll see a summary indicating the number of contacts added, merged, or ignored because they were duplicates. Click OK to return to your list of contacts.

Gmail's import-contact-confirmation dialog
Gmail shows a summary of the contacts imported from Outlook. Google

Now turn the process around by moving your Gmail contacts to Outlook. On the Gmail Contacts page, click Export in the top right, choose to export just your contacts or your contacts and Gmail's suggested contacts, select "Outlook's CSV format (for importing into Outlook or other applications)," and click the Export button.

The file is named "contacts.csv" automatically. Select the Save File button (it's chosen by default) and click OK. The list will be saved in your Downloads folder (or whichever folder you've picked as your default). Open Outlook, click File > Import and Export > Import from another program or file > Next.

Choose the appropriate comma-separated-value option and click Next again. Click the Browse button, navigate to and select the .csv file you just created, pick one of the options regarding duplicate entries (the default is "Allow duplicates to be created"), and click Next again. Choose the destination folder (probably Contacts under Personal Folders for your account), verify the action, and click Finish.

Any addresses with unrecognizable names will be listed first with only the e-mail address, but other contacts will appear alphabetically by last name.