What’s the best solution for multi-platform contacts sync?

Lee H February 10, 2014
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I currently have contacts held within my Gmail, Apple Mail, Exchange and on my mobile device. When these synchronised previously they caused multiple conflicts and now my contacts list has increased from just under 2,000 to 11,000+.
What is the best way to clean this up so they are all running the same data or should i clean them all up and then just switch to one system (Gmail)?

  1. Oron J
    February 10, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Let's start with the end game. You should have one central location for your contacts (GMail if that's the system you're using), and ideally just use it rather than sync. If you need to sync. make sure to do so frequently (or at least every time you open or quit your mail) so that you don't end up with different packages sync'ing "on top of each other.

    As for cleaning up your contacts, there are de-duplication add-ons available, and they work but they can be clumsy to use. For example, I use "Duplicate Contact Manager" for Thunderbird, which does a good job, but only displays one pair of duplicates at a time, and you need to choose which copy you want to keep.

    If most of your duplicate contacts are identical (i.e. they were not edited in one app while remaining unedited in another), then it would probably be easier for you to export all the contacts from all the address book into text files (ideally CSV) and import them into a spreadsheet. You can then sort them by email address and remove duplicates by highlighting each group of duplicates and deleting them. If you're handy with regular expressions, you could automate the process further by using a text editor instead and deleting any repeated line.

    Either way, once you have cleaned up the list, delete all existing address books, upload to GMail and start enjoying life again...