Read the tutorial on exporting contacts on Mac OS X.
Following many requests from our users, here is a guide on how to export contacts on Mac OS X.
Contact information can be some of the most useful data that can be exported and shared with others, and a large address book can be one of the most important pieces of information a user gathers over time. The Mac makes exporting contact information from the OS X Contacts app really easy. Whether you want to share and export the entire address book or just a single contact card, it’s quick.
Exporting contact information from the Mac Contacts app can also be used to back up saved contact information to a single vCard or .abbu file, which can later be imported into another address book program, another Macs Contacts app, or just another location can be saved as a backup. In the latter case, note that when using iCloud under OS X and iOS, the contacts are backed up to iCloud by default. This means that the export feature will be used as a backup, either an additional backup or an alternative way to get assistance if this feature has been disabled for any reason.
Here’s how to export all contacts from the Mac OS X Contacts app
This will export the entire contact book from the OS X Contacts app to a file:
- Open the Contacts app in OS X from the / Applications / folder, Launchpad, or Spotlight
- On the left menu, click All Contacts, then press Command + A to select all (or go to the Edit menu and choose Select All).
- On the Contacts File menu, scroll down to the Export … menu and choose one of the following options:
- Export from vCard – This will generate a VCF (vCard) file with all of the contact information stored in the app. A vCard file is a universal standard and is best compatible with many platforms, including other Mac OS X apps, iOS, Windows, Android, Blackberry, etc. – Recommended for maximum compatibility of stored contact information, especially for backups
- Contacts Store – This will generate an .abbu file with all of the contact information stored in it. Abbu is a proprietary format for the Contacts app and Address Book app from older versions of OS X, so this format is convenient for Mac users to find the address information, which is primarily compatible with Mac-specific applications
This will generate an exported contact file with the following icon:
Fully exported contact lists are generally quite small and efficient. For example, a book with around 500 contacts is a few hundred kilobytes in size, so it can be easily transferred if necessary.
How to export a single contact from a Mac
If you want to export a single contact from the Mac Contacts app in OS X, you can also:
- In the People app, find the person or contact you want to save
- With that contact selected, go to the “File” menu and go to the “Export” menu. Select “Export vCard” (recommended) or “Contact Archive” (less recommended).
- Save the individual contact as you would any other file
A single exported contact has the same icon as an entire contact address book, but the file size is smaller.
How to export multiple contacts from Mac to a single VCard
Another option is to export multiple contacts, but not the entire contact list. To do this, use the selection keys common in OS X:
- In the People app, hold down the SHIFT key to select groups of multiple contacts that are consecutive
- Hold down the COMMAND key and click multiple contacts to select multiple contacts that are discontinuous
- Right click and select “Export as vCard” or go to the “File”> “Export” menu as before
You can use the multiple selection buttons trick to export a group of contacts, some contacts, or many contacts. The number of selections is unlimited. You can also select Select All and then use these selection buttons to deselect contacts that you want to exclude from an exported contact list.
Work with the exported vCard contacts file
Regardless of whether you exported all contacts or a single contact, once you have saved the file (assuming it is a VCF vCard file as this is the recommended format for export), you can email the file directly send to another person. Send email, email to yourself on a secondary backup to Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook, upload to DropBox, save to an external drive, or whatever else it takes.
The great thing about a vCard file is that it is almost universally compatible. You can easily import the file into another Mac Contacts app by double-clicking it and emailing that vcf file to another iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. to also import the contacts to this device without ever having to use iTunes or the same iCloud for this device. This situation works basically the same when you email the VCF to a Windows or Android phone, which also recognizes the contact information and has an option to import it onto those devices.
Exporting the Direct Contact app is limited to the Mac. However, if you’re using iCloud on OS X and iOS, the same contact information is also stored in iCloud. This will automatically sync the contact information with any other iOS device with the same Apple ID. Another benefit is that you can export the same contact information directly from iCloud using any web browser. This can be helpful when you are away. Your Mac or iPhone with the information you need. Using iCloud this way is also one of the easier ways to restore a VCF file with backed up contacts. Up was created by an iPhone. You can also import a VCF file from the iCloud website. This can be especially helpful when you’re trying to restore a deleted contact that you need now.
The approach described above naturally applies to modern versions of Mac OS X with the Contacts app, including El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, and Mountain Lion. However, if your version of OS X is older, you can find a similar method that the Address Book app other than the earlier versions of OS X can only save a .abbu file without offering the .vcf vCard format you want. That basically means that you need to convert the abbu file to either a csv or vcf file in order to import it into alternative operating systems. Otherwise, you can import this saved abbu file into a modern version of the OS X Contacts app and then re-export to a vCard file using the instructions above.
Exporting Contacts from Mac OS X Guide Is Free?
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How to Export Contacts on Mac OS X: Benefits
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How to export contacts from Mac OS X: FAQ
Tutorial Summary: How to Export Contacts on Mac OS X.
In this guide, we have explained how to export contacts on Mac OS X. Please read all of the steps to understand how to export contacts on Mac OS X. If you need any help from us, please contact us.
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How to Export Contacts from Mac OS X Tutorial: last note
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