Contacts: Export and import your contacts

Export and import your contacts

You can export all of your contacts before making any extensive changes so that you have a backup copy of them. Or, export your contacts and then import them on another computer.

You can also export and import individual contacts.

Export one or more contacts

When you export a contact, the contact is exported in a vCard file (.vcf). By default, notes and photos are included when you export cards. To exclude these fields, choose Contacts > Preferences, click vCard, and then deselect the options.

In Contacts, do one of the following:

  • Drag a contact to the desktop.
  • Drag multiple contacts or a group to the desktop.

    One vCard file is created for all of the contacts. However, some apps might not be able to read vCard files with multiple contacts. To create a file for each contact, hold down the Option key while dragging the contacts or the group.

  • Select a contact, and then choose File > Export > Export vCard.
  • Select multiple contacts or a group, and then choose File > Export > Export vCard.

    One vCard file is created for all of the contacts. However, some apps might not be able to read vCard files with multiple contacts.

Export all contacts

By default, notes and photos are included when you export cards. To exclude these fields, choose Contacts > Preferences, click vCard, and then deselect the options.

  1. In Contacts, choose File > Export > Contacts Archive.
  2. Choose a location for the file, and then click Save.

Import one or more contacts (from a vCard file)

In Contacts, do one of the following:

  • Drag the vCard file to Contacts.
  • Choose File > Import, and then select the vCard file.
  • Double-click the vCard file.

If the contact has custom fields, the information in the fields isn’t imported.

When you import contacts into an Exchange account, information that isn’t supported in Contacts is added to the Notes field.

If you import a duplicate contact card, Contacts asks if you want to review the cards. For more information, see this Contacts help topic:

Resolve duplicate contact cards when importing contacts

Import one or more contacts (from a file other than a vCard)

You can import contact information that you saved or exported from other apps. The files can be in LDAP Interchange Format (LDIF) or text format (tab-delimited or comma-separated value (CSV)).

  1. If you’re importing a tab-delimited or CSV file, verify it using a text editor such as TextEdit.
    • Remove any line breaks within a contact’s information. Line breaks can cause the import to fail.

    • Make sure that fields in a tab-delimited file are separated by a tab, instead of by another character. Don’t include spaces before or after tabs.

    • Make sure that fields in a CSV file are separated by a comma, instead of by another character. Don’t include spaces before or after commas.

    • Make sure all addresses have the same number of fields. Add empty fields as needed.

  2. In Contacts, choose File > Import, select the file, change the encoding if necessary, and then click Open.
  3. If you’re importing a text file, review the field labels. You can change field labels, or ignore or not import fields.
    • If the first card contains headers, make sure the headers are correctly labeled or marked “Do not import.” Any changes you make to this card are made in all of the cards in the file. To not import the headers card, select the “Ignore first card” checkbox.

    • To change a label, click the arrows next to the label and choose a new label. If you don’t want to import a field, choose “Do not import.”

If a contact has custom fields, the information in the fields isn’t imported.

When you import contacts into an Exchange account, information that isn’t supported in Contacts is added to the Notes field.

If you import a duplicate contact card, Contacts asks if you want to review the cards. For more information, see this Contacts help topic:

Resolve duplicate contact cards when importing contacts

Import contacts from an archive file

  1. In Contacts, choose File > Import.
  2. Select the archive file, and then click Open.

When you import contacts into an Exchange account, information that isn’t supported in Contacts is added to the Notes field.

If you import a duplicate contact card, Contacts asks if you want to review the cards. For more information, see this Contacts help topic:

Resolve duplicate contact cards when importing contacts

Last Modified: Aug 14, 2012
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