One of the great things about Facebook is how it allows a person to reconnect with people they knew in high school or college, but have lost track of over the years. One of the not-so-great decisions Facebook has made, whether in response to publicized privacy issues or out of the goal to make Facebook the ultimate communication platform, is the lack of an export button for your address book.
In order to add names and email addresses of your Facebook friends into Gmail or a desktop email client, you would need to go to the Info page for every single one of your friends and copy down their name and information. Not fun!
Thankfully, Facebook has apparently partnered with Yahoo. If you visit your Yahoo Mail contacts list, you’ll see an option to import contacts from other services, including Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail, and yes, Facebook.
Note: you will need a Yahoo Mail account for this procedure. Even if you already one, creating a new account might not be a bad idea, so the address book is empty to begin with. This will make dealing with any potential duplicates a lot simpler. If you need a new account, head over to Yahoo Mail and create one.
Importing From Facebook To Yahoo Mail
Now that we all have a Yahoo Mail account, sign in.
Once in your inbox, click the Contacts tab. Follow this by clicking the Tools menu and choosing the Import option, as shown below.
Now click the Facebook icon.
A pop-up window from Facebook will appear, asking if you want to give permission to share your information with Yahoo. Since that’s what we’re all here for, click Okay and in a second the window will disappear.
After a bit, the Yahoo Mail window will show the importing of your Facebook contact info, and soon after (the process is very fast), you’ll get a confirmation that the process was a success.
Note: you may find that not every one of your contacts has been imported. This could be for a couple reasons. First is that one of your contacts may not have shared an email address. If this is the case, there’s nothing you can do, short of asking them for it. Second, a friend may have decided to keep the email address from being shared. If this is the case, the email address will show up on that friend’s Info page, and can be copied and pasted into your address book, even though it didn’t make it through the export process.
Exporting From Yahoo Mail
After you have successfully imported your Facebook contacts into your Yahoo Mail address book, it’s time to export them to a format other email clients can use. (That’s unless you use Yahoo Mail, in which case Congratulations! You’re done!) For those of us using Gmail or a desktop client, go ahead and return to our Yahoo Mail address book. Click the Contacts tab once more, followed by the Tools menu, only this time select the Export option.
You’ll land on a page showing five different export options. For Microsoft Outlook users, as well as Netscape/Thunderbird or Palm Desktop users, there are options specifically for you. Other email client users will need to figure out which format is the correct one. For those of us using Gmail, we’ll pick the third option: Yahoo! CSV, as this is a format Gmail can import directly.
After clicking your preferred format, you’ll need to fill out a CAPTCHA form to prove you aren’t a robot.
Import CSV Into Gmail
After saving the exported file safely to your hard drive, it’s time to import it into your regular email client. Since the main point of this hint was to export your Facebook contacts into your Gmail address book, that’s the only one we’ll show in detail.
To import the Yahoo! CSV file, log into Gmail and click the Contacts link in the sidebar, or go there directly (you may still need to sign into your Google account), using this link. Once the Google Contacts page has loaded, click the Import link.
Once you’ve done this, a file picker window will appear. Simply select the CSV file you wish to import.
The contacts from the CSV file will be added to your Gmail address book, and can also (if you want), be added to an existing group, or you can create a new one. Make your selection, and click the Import button.
In short order, you’ll see the following screen, assuming everything has gone as planned.
To see that everything has worked as it should, simply click the OK button from the above screenshot and return to your Google Contacts page, where you should see your freshly imported contacts, in all their glory.
Obviously, this process is a bit more convoluted than it really needs to be. If Facebook offered a simple “export contacts” option to everyone (and not only Yahoo Mail users), this guide would have been quite a bit shorter (and probably not necessary). Still, the process isn’t that painful, and for those wanting to access their Facebook contacts in a standard email client, it’s definitely worth the effort.