27 Apr 2011 01:28 UTCWed 27 Apr 2011 - 1:28 am UTC
In GMAIL, I'd like to add a contact for every person I've ever sent and email to (all emails in Sent Items folder).
I'd like the resulting contacts to have the correct email address and, if present, the person's name.
I'd like to do this as painlessly as possible and without having to install any software locally.
27 Apr 2011 03:35 UTCWed 27 Apr 2011 - 3:35 am UTC
Gmail has a built-in Contacts Manager and, unless I'm way off base, it should do what you need. Have you played with it all? If not, go to your main Gmail page and click "Contacts" over on the left-hand side. Then click "Other Contacts" or "Suggested Contacts" or similar categories like that, and see if that's the list you need.
Like I said, maybe I'm totally off base here, so let me know how that goes.
27 Apr 2011 13:34 UTCWed 27 Apr 2011 - 1:34 pm UTC
I'm not sure how google figures out which contacts to suggest, but for me it only suggests 44 of the several thousand addresses in my Sent folder.
If I could get google to suggest *all* of these addresses, that would be great, but I can't figure out how to do that.
27 Apr 2011 13:38 UTCWed 27 Apr 2011 - 1:38 pm UTC
What are the numbers associated with the other categories in your Contacts list?
My understanding is that any message to which you ever replied or forwarded becomes an actual contact, and all others you've sent become suggested contacts. It could be that some combination of your contact categories will get you the list you're after.
Also, click on the suggested list to see if there are really only 44 contacts...I've noticed the numbers in parentheses don't always jive with the actual list.
27 Apr 2011 13:47 UTCWed 27 Apr 2011 - 1:47 pm UTC
I think they stopped the "autoadding" of contacts a while ago becuase people were complaining.
I've gone though all my contact groups and none have all the addresses I am looking for. Not even close.
I think this will require an external program or script to go though all the emails and extract the addresses and add them as contacts. I just want to be sure that someone has not already done the work before I write it myself.
27 Apr 2011 14:33 UTCWed 27 Apr 2011 - 2:33 pm UTC
Are you sure you don't have a link called "Other Contacts" in the sidebar after you click on the main "Contacts" button?
If not, use the Contact Manager search box and search for a single blank (i.e. type one space into the search box and press Enter). This should show all your contact groups first, with everything else grouped at the end.
If you can see the addresses there, click the checkbox of the first one, then shift-click the checkbox of the last one on the page (to select them all), then from the drop-down box above the addresses select the contact group into which you wish to move them.
If that doesn't work for you, scroll down to the second-last line of the Gmail window and click on "Basic HTML". Click "Contacts" in the sidebar, then "All Contacts" in the colored stripe above the list of contacts.
If you still can't see the contacts that you want to add, then I'm sorry I'm out of ideas.
27 Apr 2011 14:56 UTCWed 27 Apr 2011 - 2:56 pm UTC
I do have an "Other Contacts" group with about 200 contacts in there, but I can find hundreds of addresses that are in my Sent Items that are not in Other Contacts.
I should add that most of my Sent Items came from from my email client and not from using the GMAIL web interface. It looks like contacts only get added to the Other Contacts when you compose an email using the web interface and not via SMTP or IMAP.
Thanks again for the suggestions!
27 Apr 2011 23:44 UTCWed 27 Apr 2011 - 11:44 pm UTC
You can enable IMAP in Gmail:
and once enabled, transfer or copy your Sent folder to another email manager, like Outlook or Lotus Notes.
It could be that, once transferred, you can create a contacts list more easily in another system, and even back-export the contacts into Gmail.
I'm just speculating, but I at least wanted to offer it up as an option.
28 Apr 2011 21:48 UTCThu 28 Apr 2011 - 9:48 pm UTC
I think the script you are looking for has already been written. There are various versions using the IMAP interface which essentially automates the approach David was suggesting, of downloading to a local client and extracting via software tools.
The most user-friendly version, and the one I would suggest, is the one at https://gmailextract.com/
The site will scrape any labelled batch of email from your Gmail account (including the built-in labels INBOX and SENT [and even JUNK]), and send you a csv of contacts which can be uploaded straight back into Gmail as a contact list. It seems to keep as much firstname/surname information as is available, and takes only a few minutes to work.
- You will need IMAP enabled in Gmail, but it sounds like you may have done so already? If not, see David's link.
- You may want to change your password temporarily before sending the credentials to the extractor, and then back again once it's completed.
If you're *really* paranoid about giving any details to a website, the other options would be:
1. A downloadable program (such as http://www.sobolsoft.com/gmailextractemail/ - so at least you can run WireShark or something to see where the info goes). But this does go against the no-installing prerequisite.
2. Running a bare script. I was able to use the perl script that is posted here: http://ulrith.livejournal.com/484386.html (English http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ru&tl=en&u=http://ulrith.livejournal.com/484386.html ), but only after some wrangling with Perl dependencies. Depending on your setup, this may involve installing extra modules, and/or other headaches.
Furthermore, the source as posted doesn't print out names, only email addresses, so some tinkering may be required to get them back.
3. Using your local email client as a go-between, as suggested above.
I don't know which client you are using, but many will have the capacity to generate a contact list for you.
- Outlook (2007) can apparently do it natively, but the method is a bit obscure. There are instructions here:
- Thunderbird (I think) requires an add-on (possibly counts as installing local software), "Address Crawler", that adds the ability to harvest email addresses from any local folder into a new or existing Address Book. Then you can use Thunderbird's native export function to get the address book into a csv file for Gmail.
If you find this method best but have a different email client, let me know if you need help finding a way to get that client to export contact details, and I'll search again.
I hope you find one of these approaches suitable!