Mar 20 AT 8:00 AM Christopher Earle 6 Comments

Blackberry To G1. Migrating Contacts From Outlook To Gmail.

One of the advantages of a G1 with Google is that contacts are synchronized seamlessly between the G1 and its associated Gmail account. This means that the contacts are available both on the handset and on virtually any computer connected to the internet.

This can pose a problem for people migrating from BlackBerry to the G1. One solution is one of the many synchronization utilities for Outlook and Gmail, such as gSyncit or GoodSync. These are good solutions, however many people simply switch from using Outlook to using the Gmail web application for email. For people who are migrating, there is a free and simple way to move your data from Outlook to Gmail.

There are three basic steps to accomplish this:

  1. Export your existing Outlook contacts to a .csv file.
  2. Decide if you want to keep your existing Gmail contacts. If you already have a lot of contacts in Gmail, it is probably a good idea to keep them. If most or all of your Gmail contacts are duplicated in Outlook, deleting the existing Gmail contacts might be a good idea.
  3. Import the .csv file from Outlook into Gmail.

Export a .CSV File From Outlook

Exporting your existing Outlook contacts is easy. Do the following:

  1. Click the Contacts tab in Outlook
  2. Go to the Import and Export command under the File Menu
  3. Click Outlook…
  4. Select Export to a File in the dialog box that pops up
  5. Click Next
  6. Make sure that Comma Separated Values (DOS) is selected
  7. Click Next
  8. Make sure that Contacts is selected in the tree view
  9. Click next
  10. Browse to where you want to save your .csv file
  11. Click next
  12. Click Finish to export the .csv file.

Decide On Deleting Existing Gmail Contacts

Once you have the .csv file, you need to consider whether or not to delete your existing Gmail contacts. One consideration is the number of existing Gmail contacts in your account. Another is whether there is extensive duplication between Gmail and Outlook. If you are a new Gmail user, you probably don’t have many contacts, so you can skip this consideration.

There isn’t an easy answer to this question. If you have extensive contacts in both systems, importing the Outlook contacts over the top may cause duplication of records. In this case, you will need to go through and delete the duplicate records. If you don’t mind losing your Gmail contacts, you can delete all of the contacts in Gmail before importing the Outlook contacts. This works well if Outlook was your main repository of contact information.

If you want to delete ALL of your Gmail contacts before importing the contacts from Outlook, do the following:

Please Note: ONLY do this if you are SURE you want to start with a clean slate in Gmail before importing the Outlook contacts. This WILL remove ALL of your current Gmail contacts! You are not required to delete all of your Gmail contacts. If you don’t, and you have duplicate names in Outlook, those records will simply be duplicated.

  1. Click “Contacts” on the left side of your Gmail screen
  2. Gmail will not allow you to delete more than 500 contacts at a time; if you have more than 500 contacts in Gmail, click the first contact then scroll down a bit and shift-click some distance below; the number of contacts selected is in the information pane to the right
  3. To delete the contacts, click “Delete contacts”
  4. Repeat this until all of your contacts are gone.

Import Outlook .CSV to Gmail

Once you are ready to import your Outlook contacts in to Gmail, open Gmail and do the following:

  1. Click Contacts in the pane to the left of the messages
  2. Click Import in the upper right hand screen of the Contacts pane
  3. Choose the .csv file you exported above
  4. Click Import.

This procedure worked well for one user with over 1,000 contacts in Outlook. The only problem that occurs is this: Outlook contacts with only a company listed, with no name of a person in that company, will appear as expected in Gmail; however, they will appear as phone numbers only on the G1. The way to fix this is to copy the company name as the name of a person on the G1 and re-save the contact.

Christopher Earle has been working as a freelance writer since 1987. He currently lives in the Denver, Colorado area with his wife, son, and their two cats. He has been a fan of open source software for many years.

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