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Migrate Contacts from Thunderbird to Gmail

Some retirees / spouses may wish to copy their Address Book, including Lists (also called groups) from Thunderbird to Lehigh Gmail. Below are instructions for exporting addresses from Thunderbird and then importing them into Gmail. You may wish to have a friend, family member, or local tech support person assist you with this task.

Step Number: 
1
Action: 

Open Mozilla Thunderbird. Note: Steps for Seamonkey may differ from Thunderbird, but the process will be the same.

Screenshot: 
Mozilla Thunderbird Icon
Step Number: 
2
Action: 

From the Tools menu, click on Address Book. A new window will open showing you the contents of the Address Book. You should see Personal Address Book and Collected Addresses, in the column on the left.

Screenshot: 
A screenshot highlighting the Tools menu, and its first entry, the Address Book.
Step Number: 
3
Action: 

Click on Personal Address book to highlight it, then go to the Tools menu just above and choose “Export…”

Screenshot: 
A screenshot of the Address Book window and its Tools menu, highlighting the Export... command.
Step Number: 
4
Action: 

A small window will open asking where you’d like to save the file, what name you’d like to give it, and what file type it should be saved as.

  1. Choose the Desktop folder to save in.
  2. Set the “File name” as contacts.csv
  3. IMPORTANT Below the name, make sure Type is set to CSV (Comma Separated Values).
Screenshot: 
A screenshot of the Save As... dialog box, highlighting the Desktop folder, the file name, and the Save as type options.
Step Number: 
5
Action: 

Once you have saved the “contacts.csv” to your Desktop, open your web browser (e.g. Firefox, Chrome, or Safari) and go to www.lehigh.edu/google

Screenshot: 
A screenshot of the lehigh.edu slash google web page, highlighting the link to mail.
Step Number: 
6
Action: 

Log into Gmail and then click on the red Mail link in the upper-left corner. In the menu that appears, click on Contacts.

Screenshot: 
A screenshot of the Gmail user interface, highlighting Contacts within the Mail menu.
Step Number: 
7
Action: 

A new browser tab will open with your Google Contacts. At the bottom of the left column, click on “Go to the old version.”

Screenshot: 
A screenshot of Google Contacts, highlighting the "Go to the old version" command on the left side of the screen.
Step Number: 
8
Action: 

After the page refreshes you should see the option to “Import Contacts” as the second-to-last link on the left. Click it.

Screenshot: 
A screenshot of the older Google Contacts interface, highlighting the Import Contacts command at the bottom of the left column.
Step Number: 
9
Action: 

In the window that appears, click the “Choose File” button. Navigate to your Desktop and double-click the “contacts.csv” file. Now click the blue “Import” button, and be ready to wait a few seconds to a couple minutes.

If your contacts fail to appear after a few minutes, the CSV file may have contained bad data. Examine the file using Excel or Google Sheets and remove any lines containing special characters or non-address data. Save the file and try importing again.

Screenshot: 
A screenshot of the Import Contacts dialog box, highlighting the Choose File button and the name of the file to be imported.
Step Number: 
10
Action: 

After a successful import, you should see a new group called “Imported -Date-of-Import-” under My Contacts.

  1. If you have any Lists (sometimes called Groups or Distribution lists) in your Thunderbird Address Book, go back to Step 3, and highlight and export each list as a separate CSV. Make sure to name each file “Listname.csv”
  2. Repeat the process of Importing each csv file into Gmail Contacts.
Screenshot: 
A screenshot highlighting the Imported contacts.
Step Number: 
11
Action: 

You can now close the Contacts tab and return to Mail. When composing a new email message, you should be able to begin typing any person’s name or email address from your Contacts and have their address auto-complete in the TO: field. Note that all Lehigh faculty, staff, and students are automatically included in this auto-complete, but retirees and alumni are not.

Audience: 

For additional help, please contact the LTS Help Desk at 610-758-4357 or helpdesk@lehigh.edu