Your Google Gmail contacts are important. As a small business
owner, you know that your business is all about people. Keeping in touch with
the people you do business with is one of the keys to business success. By
organizing and managing your Gmail contacts, you can build and strengthen your
How to Find Your Google Gmail Contacts and Organize Them Better
If you’re like many Gmail users, you haven’t given much
thought to your contacts in Gmail. What you need to know is that Gmail includes
contact management tools that will allow you to make use of your Gmail contacts
in many of Google’s other G Suite productivity tools, including Calendar.
In this tutorial, you will learn everything you need to know
about Gmail contacts. You’ll learn how to find contacts on Gmail, add new Gmail contacts, and practical
ways to use your Gmail contact groups.
tutorial works with the new Google Contact features. If you use the classic
Gmail contacts list, switch to the new Gmail contacts list before continuing.
1. Why Your Google Contacts List Is Important
You might wonder why organizing your contact list is
important. After all, Gmail automatically stores contacts that you send emails
to. Why bother to organize them better?
The answer is simple. Organizing your contacts saves you
time and helps you to make better use of Google’s features. Remember, over
time, you may get hundreds of names in your contact list—some of whom you have
no reason to ever contact again. Isn’t it better to organize your contact names
into groups that make sense and help you to find and reach those contacts you
really need quickly?
Your Gmail contact list is part of your Google account. That
means that the Gmail contact list that you set up is the same as the Google
contact list that you use with G-Suite tools.
Google has some limits on how many contacts you can have.
Currently, the limit for total number of Google contacts is 25,000 or a storage
limit of 20 MB (not counting photo images). If you send and receive a lot of
emails, you may exceed that number before you realize it.
Also, once your Google contact groups are set up properly
you can use those groups to:
- Share calendar items
- Send group emails
- Conduct Google hangouts
Let’s start with a quick video overview of working with Google Gmail contacts.
How to Manage Your Google Gmail Contacts (Quick Start Video)
Watch this quick screencast to learn the basics of how to add, organize, and manage your Google Gmail contacts:
Or walk-through the detailed written steps below for more information, starting with details on how contacts get into your gmail list.
2. How to Find and Add Contacts to Gmail
The first step to organizing your Gmail contacts is finding
and adding the contacts you need. Even if you’ve never added a Gmail contact,
Gmail keeps track of who you’ve been sending email messages to in a Frequently contacted list it generates.
Google also automatically generates an All contacts list that contains all contacts that you add or
import. To keep your All contacts
list manageable, think of it as a temporary holding space for contacts until
you move them to a contact group.
Start from the main Gmail window. To open the Frequently contacted list, select Gmail > Contacts. Your current Google
Contacts window displays.
This is a relatively new Gmail account that I created for
these tutorials. Despite that, notice that I already have three names on the
automatically generated Frequently
Also, I do not have a Google+ social media account
associated with this Gmail account, so Circles
does not appear in the sidebar. If I did have a Google+ account, Circles would appear beneath Groups in the sidebar.
names used in this tutorial are not intended to represent real people.
Let’s learn how to get some more contacts on my list.
Step 1. Import Contacts From Email
The first method of getting names on your Gmail contact list
is to import them. Start by selecting
More > Import in the left panel of your Google Contacts window. The Import
contacts from other accounts box displays.
For the purposes of this tutorial, let’s say you want to
import contacts from your Outlook email account. Click the Outlook.com option.
prompted to enter your password. Continue to follow the prompts until your
Outlook contacts have been imported. Google displays a list of imported
The new contacts are placed in a Google contact group called
Imported Outlook.com [Date]. Don’t
worry though, you can change the name of this group later.
If you have contacts you would like to import from any of
the other options, select that option at this time. Follow the prompts to
import your contacts.
Note: You can
only import 3,000 contacts at a time. If you need to import more than 3,000
contacts, put the contact list in CSV format and break it into separate lists
of less than 3,000 names.
Step 2. Import Your Contacts From Social Media
If you’re active on social media, you understand how
important social media networking can be for your small business. You can add professional
contacts you develop through social media to your Gmail profile. For more
information on how to build a professional Google+ profile, review this
Gmail makes it easy to incorporate your Google+
connections into your Gmail contacts since your Google+ Circles appear in your Contacts
Let’s look at Circles
on the Gmail Account that I have associated with my Google+ profile. I click my
Writing Colleagues circle to look at
those contacts in the Google Contacts window. (The names of your Google+ circles will be different as will your connections.)
decide that I want to add Andrew
from my Writing Colleagues circle to
my contacts list. I select Andrew from
the list. A contact card appears with the information from Andrew’s Google+
To add Andrew to my Gmail contacts list, I click the Add to contacts icon (it looks like a
person) above the photo. He is now in my Gmail contacts list.
For contacts from other social media platforms, export them
to CSV format first. There are also some plug-ins that can import contacts from
Step 3. Create a New Gmail Contact
Occasionally, you may want to add a contact that you’ve just
met. Perhaps, someone handed you their business card at a trade show. You can
add a new contact in Gmail.
Use the search bar at the top of the window to look for a
contact to add or use the
icon on the lower right of the window.
To use the Add new
contacts icon, click it. At the prompt, type the name of the
contact you want to add. The system may suggest contacts from existing Google+
profiles based on the name you type.
Click the Create
button. A blank contact card displays.
Type as much information as you can about your new contact.
Add an image if you have one. Click the Save
button to save the new contact card.
Step 4. Remove a Gmail Contact
An important part of organizing your Gmail contacts is
removing contacts that you no longer need. Perhaps someone has left an
organization or changed careers. Here’s how to remove contacts from your Google
Start with the Contacts
window open. Click the name of the contact you want to remove. Their
contact card opens. Click on the three dots above the photo to open a sub-menu.
Click the Delete
option to remove the contact. The contact is deleted from your Gmail contacts
and removed from any contact groups.
If you click the Remove
from the “All contacts” list option, the contact is removed from
the All contacts list, but remains
in any contact groups where you placed them.
Step 5. Merge Duplicate Contacts
You may find that your contact list has duplicate entries.
This sometimes happens when you manually add new contacts, forgetting that they
are already on your list.
Fortunately, Google has a tool to help you find and
eliminate duplicate contacts. From the sidebar, click the Find duplicates option. The systems displays possible duplicates.
You have the option to Dismiss
(ignore) or Merge the duplicates.
If you select the Merge
option, the contact information for the duplicates will be combined onto a
single contact card.
3. Building Gmail Contact Groups
So far, we have gone over how to add Gmail contacts. Using
the Groups feature, you can organize
your contacts. This feature allows you to group contacts together.
You may wish to create a group for prospective clients,
vendors, employees, colleagues, current clients, and more. The possibilities
Step 1. Create a Gmail Contact Group
Start from the Contacts
window. Click the New group option
in the side panel. The New Group
Type the name of the group you wish to add. Click the Create group button to create the Gmail
Step 2. Add Contacts to a Group
You now have a group, but there are no contacts in it. Start
with the group open that you want to add contacts to. Click the Add person icon in the lower right of
If you see the person’s name, click on it to add them to the
To add a new contact, click the Create button. A blank contact card displays.
Type the person’s contact information into the card. Insert
an image for the person if you have one. Click the Save button to create the new contact and save it in your Gmail contact
Step 3. Rename a Contact Group
To rename a Google contact group, start with the
group open. Click the Rename group
icon (it looks like a pencil). The Rename group popup appears.
Type the new name of the group in the Please enter a group name field. Click the OK button. The group name changes.
Step 4. Sort Google Contacts
Sort your contacts by first or list name. Start by opening a
group or the main Contact List window. Click the Sort options icon in the upper right.
Click the alphabetical sort option you would like. Choose between
sorting by the contact’s first name or by their last name.
Here is what a last name sort looks like.
Step 5. Reassign Contacts to a Different Gmail Group
Reassign one or more contacts to a different Gmail group. Start with
the group open. Place your mouse over the image next to the contact name to be reassigned. The
image is replaced by a checkbox. Click the checkbox to select it. A menu bar
appears across the top of the Contacts
window. Checkboxes also appear by all the names in the group.
If you need to, select more names. Click the Change groups icon (it looks like people)
in the menu bar. A drop-down menu with current group names displays.
In this case, I wish to move Joe Test Person from the group Test Group to the group New Test Group. I click New Test Group to place a check by that group name. I click Test Group to remove the check by that group name.
Click in the white space. You will receive a
prompt that your [Contact Name] has been moved from one group to another.
Step 6. Delete a Google Gmail Contact Group
From time to time, you may need to remove entire groups. It’s easy
to do so.
Start with the group you want to delete open. Click the Delete group icon (it looks like a
A pop-up appears.
Choose one of the following:
- To save the contacts in the group and delete the
group, select the first option and click the Delete button.
- To delete the contacts in the group and the
group, select the second option and click the Delete button.
- To keep the group and its contacts intact, click
the Cancel button.
4. Practical Ways to Use Your Google Contacts List
Once you’ve set up your Google contacts list and groups in
Gmail, there are many practical ways to use them. Here are just a few.
1. Share Calendar Items
Share a Google Calendar event with an individual contact or
an entire group. Start with your Google Calendar open. Go to https://calendar.google.com
to find your Google Calendar. Add the Gmail contact group to the event as you
would an individual. If the person you invite also uses Google Calendar, the
event will be added to their calendar within a half hour.
Note: Event invitations
with more than 200 guests are subject to special restrictions.
2. Send Group Emails
Use Google contact groups to send group emails. This is especially
helpful if you work with a team and you need to keep team members informed. Send
group emails from your Gmail inbox, or by using the menu bar at the top of your
contact group listing. There are two methods to send group emails.
From your Gmail inbox click the Compose button. In the To
field, type the name of the contact group. You will see the individual email
addresses in the To field when you
press the Enter key. Finish typing
your message and send as usual.
With your contact group open, place your mouse over the
image on the left of a contact name. The image is replaced by a checkbox. Click
the checkboxes next to the names of all contacts you want to send a group email
to. A menu bar appears across the top of the Contacts window.
Next, click the More
Actions icon (it looks like three vertical dots) on the right of the menu
Click the Email option
on the drop-down menu. A new email opens. Type and send the message as usual.
3. Use Google Hangout
Start a Google Hangout with one or more of your contacts.
Start with a group or the All
contacts list open. Place your mouse over the image next to a contact name.
The image is replaced by a checkbox. Click a checkbox to select the contact
name. A menu bar appears across the top of the Contacts window.
Next, click the More
Actions icon (it looks like three vertical dots) on the right of the menu
bar. From the More Actions drop-down
menu, click the Hangout option. A
popup appears asking you to send an invite to your hangout.
Click the Send Invite
button. When your invitees respond you can begin chatting.
Note: If the Hangout option is greyed out, the
contact may have Hangouts disabled. Or, there may not be enough information on
the contact card to send a Hangout invitation.
To learn more about how to use Google Hangouts for your
small business, review this tutorial:
Learning how to find and organize your Gmail contacts is a
big timesaver. You’ll also develop stronger relationships for your small
business as you make better use of your Gmail contacts.
Learn more about how to work with Gmail in our multi-part Ultimate Beginner Guide to Using Gmail. It covers setting up your account, inbox organization tips, quick email shortcuts, and more.