How To Back Up Your Facebook Contacts To Any Email Account [Weekly Facebook Tips]

Tina Sieber 28-05-2013

How To Back Up Your Facebook Contacts To Any Email Account [Weekly Facebook Tips] facebook logo 300x300Facebook makes many aspects of your life more convenient. It’s an easy way to stay in touch, it reminds you of your friends’ birthdays, and it can sync your contacts and Facebook events to your smartphone. And before you know it, you depend on Facebook 9 Ways in Which Facebook Holds You By The Balls [Weekly Facebook Tips] Have you ever entertained the thought of quitting Facebook? And how quickly did you dismiss this idea? Most of us don't realize it right away, but we're pretty seriously invested in Facebook. Once we have... Read More . Or maybe other people depend on being friends with you on Facebook.


Part of this dependence is in Facebook stepping in to manage your contacts. Imagine you lost access to your Facebook account How to Recover Your Facebook Account When You Can't Log In Forgot your password? Were you hacked? Here's how to recover your Facebook account using proven Facebook account recovery options. Read More and thus all your friends. Would you still have a backup Add Facebook Trusted Contacts To Ensure You Can Recover Your Account It happens all the time. People forget their password, accounts get hacked, or Facebook decides they have violated the Terms of Service and bans them. And when they try to recover their account, they realize... Read More somewhere? And on the other hand, do you already have all of your friends on Facebook? Or would you know how to migrate your friends when moving from one Facebook account to another? Well, let me show you how you can back up and transfer your Facebook contacts.


This article  originally proposed how to back up contacts to Yahoo! Mail and suggested it was possible to save all Yahoo! contacts in a CSV file and then re-import them into Facebook or another third party account, such as Gmail. This was indeed possible until recently, however, Yahoo! has disabled the feature:

Contacts imported from Facebook cannot be exported from Yahoo! Contacts by any method; including export to .CSV/.VCF file formats, sync with mobile devices, or sync with a desktop mail/contacts client.

How To Export Facebook Contacts to Yahoo!

While it’s not  possible to export Facebook contacts from Yahoo! Mail, at least you can export them to Yahoo! Mail. Make sure you are logged into Facebook. Then go to your Yahoo! Mail account. Switch to the Contacts tab and click the Import Contacts button next to the Facebook logo.

How To Back Up Your Facebook Contacts To Any Email Account [Weekly Facebook Tips] Yahoo Mail Import Contacts

Select the Facebook icon and confirm that you wish to share your contacts with Yahoo! A few seconds later you will be able to view your imported contacts on your Facebook list.


How To Back Up Your Facebook Contacts To Any Email Account [Weekly Facebook Tips] Yahoo View Imported Contacts

Note that this method works only for contacts who gave Facebook permission to share their email address when friends download their contact data. This option is available via General Account Settings.

How To Transfer Facebook Contacts Into Any Other Email Account

As you might have figured out already, it’s not possible to import Facebook contacts directly into Gmail. And although you can most likely import a CSV file to your email account, the Yahoo! Mail CSV file won’t contain your Facebook contacts, as pointed out in the disclaimer above. Frustrating, isn’t it?

The only workaround I found involves annoying your friends. Facebook contacts imported into Yahoo! Mail are contacts after all, meaning you can actually send your contacts an email. When you do that, CC your target account and it should do the rest for you. For example in Gmail, email addresses of people not yet in your contacts are automatically added to Other Contacts. The alternative is that you manually copy your Facebook contacts from the contacts list on Yahoo! Mail.


Now if you want to be able to export your Facebook contacts, this can be done with the email method above and a blank Gmail account. As you send an email from your Yahoo! Mail account to all your Facebook contacts, don’t just CC your main email account, also CC a new/blank Gmail account. All email addresses will be added to Other Contacts and you can subsequently export them to a CSV file.

How To Back Up Your Facebook Contacts To Any Email Account [Weekly Facebook Tips] Import Facebook Contacts Into Gmail

How To Export Your Email Contacts

Although I’m describing this process for Yahoo!, it’s the same for any of your other email accounts, at least in principle. While viewing your Yahoo! contacts, click Actions and select Export All…

How To Back Up Your Facebook Contacts To Any Email Account [Weekly Facebook Tips] Export Yahoo Facebook Contacts


Click the Export Now button next to the option Yahoo! CSV.

How To Back Up Your Facebook Contacts To Any Email Account [Weekly Facebook Tips] Export Yahoo CSV

You will need to verify that you are not a robot by entering a CAPTCHA. And then it takes another couple of seconds until your download will start.

As explained in the disclaimer above, the CSV file saved from Yahoo! Mail will not contain your Facebook contacts.


How To Import Contacts Into Facebook

At the Find Friends page you can either import all of your Yahoo!, Skype, ICQ, and contacts from many other services, or upload a CSV file. I will continue with the Yahoo! Mail example, but not without pointing out that Facebook contacts previously imported into Yahoo! Mail will not be imported into Facebook.

Log into your Yahoo! account, then go to Facebook’s Find Friends page. If you have previously added your Yahoo! email address to Facebook, it should be filled in already. Click the Find Friends button.

How To Back Up Your Facebook Contacts To Any Email Account [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook Find Friends

A window will pop up asking you to authorize access to your Yahoo! Contacts and profiles. Click Agree to proceed.

How To Back Up Your Facebook Contacts To Any Email Account [Weekly Facebook Tips] Yahoo Authorize Access

In the next step, you will be able to select contacts not yet friends with you, but who do have a Facebook account. In the third step you can invite contacts to Facebook who don’t seem to have an account, at least not with the address in your contact list.

How To Import A CSV File Into Facebook

To import contacts via a CSV file, scroll further down the list and click Find Friends next to the Other Tools option.

How To Back Up Your Facebook Contacts To Any Email Account [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook Upload Contact File

When you select Upload Contact File several options will expand. Click the Choose File button and browse to the CSV file you want to import, for example the Yahoo! CSV if you saved it as described above. Click the Upload Contacts button and follow the Find Friends and Invite Friends procedure described above.

How To Back Up Your Facebook Contacts To Any Email Account [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook Import CSV File


Exporting contacts from Facebook into other accounts is a petty mess, but it’s not impossible. Importing contacts into Facebook, however, is surprisingly convenient, as Facebook provides many ways to find your friends and invite them to join you on your favorite social network.

What other ways to import or export data from Facebook are you using or missing?

Related topics: Contact Management, Data Backup, Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo Mail.

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  1. Andy Gee
    August 24, 2013 at 1:02 am

    There is another slightly convoluted way.
    In yahoo click "Compose" and click the add contact button.
    When the list of contacts comes up press CTRL+A then CRTL+C to copy everything on the page
    Open a text editor like notepad++ and press CTRL+V.
    Notepad++ is free and very good BTW. Google it.

    All of your contact names and email addresses will now appear in the text editor with a little about 30 lines of additional text which can be discarded at the bottom.

    Select the entire list and press SHIFT+TAB to remove any leading tabs.

    Next do a find and replace (CTRL+H) for "(" and replace with a tab (\t in notepad++ extended search and replace)
    Also do a find an replace for ")" and replace with nothing.

    Now you'll have a list of your contacts, one on each line with a tab between the name and the email.
    Copy this list and paste into excel. Type "name" in cell A1 and "email" in cell B1
    Save it as a CSV and import into Google.


  2. Militta
    August 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm
  3. Jon Camp
    August 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    I just wanted to let you know there is another way to get around the yahoo restriction on exporting facebook contacts. It still lets you print them, so you can get a plain html page with all of your facebook contacts. You can then copy from this page into a csv file. I wrote a python script to automate this process, so you can get all of your contacts out in a minute, and you won't have to jump through as many hoops.

    I made the script available at [Broken URL Removed]

    • Tina Sieber
      August 12, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Thank you for sharing, Jon.

  4. santosh
    August 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    this process is not working

  5. Lani
    July 8, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Two months later and they've already blocked this method. Has anyone found a new way around? We're unable to send out any invites - reason unknown and would love some help!

  6. ari shrum
    May 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    ...So what you need to do is export your Facebook contacts to a third party service like Yahoo! Mail, then save a CSV file from that account,...

    Did you actually try exporting imported Facebook contacts from Yahoo to a .csv file before you wrote about it??? If so, please let me know how to do it.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      Yes I did and what I found was that you cannot selectively create a CSV of your imported Facebook contacts. Even though Yahoo! contacts shows various groups, it looks like you can only export a list of all your Yahoo! contacts, including the imported Facebook contacts.

      If you already have a Yahoo! account with contacts in it and don't want to mix them with your Facebook contacts, the workaround would be to create a new and blank Yahoo! account.

      • ari shrum
        May 29, 2013 at 4:47 pm

        Sorry, but you're busted! :-) I used a clean Yahoo account with an empty Contacts folder, imported my Facebook contacts, then tried to export them. It "seemed" to work ('download finished') but the file was empty. Then I read this in the Yahoo help file when I search on "export contacts":

        "Contacts imported from Facebook cannot be exported from Yahoo! Contacts by any method; including export to .CSV/.VCF file formats, sync with mobile devices, or sync with a desktop mail/contacts client."

        Is there another way to get Facebook contact info into Gmail?


        • Tina Sieber
          May 29, 2013 at 5:41 pm

          I looked into this further and it seems like Yahoo! quietly disabled export of Facebook contacts late last year. The date on the message you found is January 2013. I guess that's what happens when you carry an idea for an article on your mind for too long...

          I will update the article, hopefully with an alternative way to export to Gmail.

        • ari shrum
          May 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm

          No worries!

        • Anthony Casadonte
          May 30, 2013 at 2:40 am

          I couldn't even manage to import facebook contacts into Yahoo. For some reason the facebook icon that one must select to import contacts is gone for me. I can keep clicking the empty space where it should be there and eventually it will give me the message: "contacts found. We are now importing of from Facebook." But this never finishes for me. So I would definitely appreciate a work around. (currently trying to use facebook contacts for improving google+).

        • Tina Sieber
          May 30, 2013 at 11:33 am


          I'm not sure why your Yahoo! Mail account doesn't show the Facebook icon for you. Were you logged into your Facebook account before trying to do this?

        • Tina Sieber
          May 30, 2013 at 11:31 am

          I updated the article and did find a workaround that isn't entirely manual, but it's not very convenient either. Let me know in case you find something better.

        • Nik
          May 31, 2013 at 1:46 am

          I found a hole and invented a work around. If I post it publicly, it'll be blocked no? I'll let any of you know privately if you like.

        • Nik
          May 31, 2013 at 2:09 am

          I just exported the entire list to excel in easy columns... it's 100% possible.

        • vivian
          August 23, 2013 at 1:54 am

          Nik, please contact me!
          Thank you!!

  7. Phuc Ngoc
    May 29, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Wow, thank you! I'm in need of this.

    • Tina Sieber
      May 30, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Note that the article was updated.