Importing Contacts into ProtonMail

In ProtonMail v1.11 and up, we support the importing of your existing email contacts from other email service providers (ESPs).

The process takes just a few minutes and is outlined here:

Export contacts from Gmail

1. Log in to Gmail.
2. Go to the “Contacts” page.

Click the “Gmail dropdown” button right above the “Compose” button. Choose “Contacts” from the dropdown menu.

3. Click “Export”.

On the Contacts page, click the “more” button. Choose “Export” from the dropdown menu.

4. Choose a format.

Choose the format you want to export. We recommend Outlook format.

Once you have exported your contacts to a file, visit your ProtonMail Contacts page to import your contacts.

We only have a guide for Gmail for now. We will update this post with additional ESP later.

About the Author

Jason Stockman

Jason is a co-founder of ProtonMail. He works on building ProtonMail's user interface and websites. Jason has over 10 years experience building websites and applications.

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33 comments on “Importing Contacts into ProtonMail

    • This is a known issue, unfortunately there does not seem to be an easy fix, but we are working on it.

  • I already emailed you all, but thought I’d post my issues here as well in case others are having the same problem.

    Exporting a google file (.csv) won’t upload on Protonmail for me. Instead I exported in vCard format but when I tried to upload, only the A’s in my address book would show up and only the first 20 A names.

    So at this point, I’m still unable to bulk upload my contacts.

    • We have an improved version of the import contacts coming out in version 1.12, thanks for your patience.

  • The number of contacts to be uploaded from Gmail seems to be limited.
    Is it correct? (I could import 114 contacts on a total of 750).
    Is it possible to import all contacts?
    Thank you for your kind response.

    • We recently improved our import contacts features, if you try again, it might be possible to import more contacts now. Sometimes, contacts cannot be imported because of formatting issues.

  • I’ve tried to import individually and in bulk both .vcf and .csv files through the “Upload Contacts” button and have not been able to import a single name.

  • Here’s how the CSV-Upload/Import currently works:

    Apparently, the CSV can only have two fields, and they HAVE to be Name and E-mail Address. Otherwise the csv will not work. So open excel and get your csv to look like this:

    Name,E-mail Address
    First1 Name1,
    First2 Name2,
    First3 Name3,
    First4 Name4,
    First5 Name5,

    And it will work.

  • I tried to import my Mac Address Book. It worked only partially.

    Firstly, I opened the Contacts app on my Mac and exported all contacts (Select All/Export vCard.) Then I uploaded that file to Protonmail. It worked smoothly, no error messages appeared and indeed some of my contacts were imported succesfully. One third approx. I have no idea why the other 2/3 were not imported, I cannot see a pattern as to which ones were imported and which ones were not.

    Any ideas or suggestions are welcome. I’ll also send this to support for their opinion.

  • Had some problems importing; it seemed to truncate the file and only import some of the contacts. Also, problems with some Chinese Unicode characters (perhaps this is related to the truncation issues, as I see mentioned problems with Cyrillic above). I have quite a few contacts with Chinese language information.

  • Since the original blog entry only describes the process for GMail, I’ve been trying to import my Hotmail/ MSN Outlook contacts into Protonmail.
    It worked flawlessly, but does require some work. Here is what I did:

    [1] Go into your Hotmail/ MSN Outlook account as you always do.
    [2] Go to your Contacts page. This may be a bit hard to find, but in the top left corner of your screen, next to “”, you’ll see a square icon, existing out of 9 individual squares (for the old timers and nerds among us, a Rubiks Cube like icon ;-)
    [3] Click this icon. An overlay window will open.
    [4] Select People
    [5] A new page, named Contacts will open
    [6] From the top pull down menu “Manage”, select “Export for and other services”
    [7] This will download a .csv file that holds all your Hotmail/ Outlook contacts.
    [8] After downloading the file, open it with your prefered speadsheet editor. If necessary: tick that the file is comma seperated, and the text delimiter is ” (i.e. quotes).
    [9] After you opened the file, you’ll see that the file/ Hotmail/ Outlook contacts hold A LOT OF INFORMATION. Probably most collums will have no info (unless you’ve been very, very busy). Tthe collumn headers are:
    Title First Name Middle Name Last Name Suffix Given Name Yomi Family Name Yomi Home Street Home City Home State Home Postal Code Home Country Company Department Job Title Office Location Business Street Business City Business State Business Postal Code Business Country Other Street Other City Other State Other Postal Code Other Country Assistant’s Phone Business Fax Business Phone Business Phone 2 Callback Car Phone Company Main Phone Home Fax Home Phone Home Phone 2 ISDN Mobile Phone Other Fax Other Phone Pager Primary Phone Radio Phone TTY/TDD Phone Telex Anniversary Birthday E-mail Address E-mail Type E-mail 2 Address E-mail 2 Type E-mail 3 Address E-mail 3 Type Notes Spouse Web Page

    [10] Delete the collums you don’t need. You do have to keep: First Name, Last Name, E-mail Address.
    [11] IMPORTANT – UPON IMPORT PROTON MAIL WILL IGNORE ADDIONAL EMAIL ADDRESSES YOU MIGHT HAVE! So that means if you leave the collums E-mail 2 Address and E-mail 3 Address these will NOT imported. For that you’ve to create a new row with the data in it. ProtonMail will merge the fields First Name and Last Name automagically and list it in the Name field.
    [12] After you cleaned up your csv file, save it (as .csv of course), log into ProtonMail, and import them by selecting Upload Contacts under Contacts, and drag & dropping them on the interaction window.

    This worked for me, importing almost 700 contacts. Good luck!

  • I believe that the following format will work for any properly constructed .csv file:

    The header must be in the following format with the quotation marks:

    “Name”,”E-mail Address”

    followed by appropriate data entries:

    Joan Smith,

    I noted that many .csv export files do not contain quotation marks in the header; it is not hard to edit your exported file to change the header (or add it) appropriately using any text editor such as Notebook or Gedit.

  • Nothing is working. Any ideas. I used Excel to create the CSV.

    My header is “name”,”email address”

    My data is first last, email

    “Invalid Format”

    Please help

  • Hello! :)

    I have imported my contacts but is there anyway of accessing them in the ‘groups’ I use in Gmail??
    I really don’t want to have to go through them one by one and retag/ group….!


  • My 1,400 contacts are all in Apple Contacts, not Google. Any easy way to import my Contacts directly from Apple Contacts into ProtonMail?

    Grateful for any help.

  • I tried to import my contacts from mail, it doesn’t work in csv…Thankful for your help.

  • before initiating contacts upload are there issues or limits with Apple product usage, or does Proton work with PC or Mac use with equal facility?

  • Hello Jason,
    I just tried to import my google contacts to my ProtonMailPlus contacts using these instructions. After a while of waiting for the upload to process, I received an error code that the import failed. Unfortunately, I failed to get a screen shot of the error code. However, my contact page on proton mail shows 807 contacts. I will test a contact by sending an email to my son. What do you think might have failed?
    Thank you.

    • Hello! Are the contacts ok after import, meaning can you use them? Is it possible to tell us what browser and which import method did you use (cvs or vcard)?

  • Hello. My name is Jim and I think this email service project you folks are developing is a marvelous and much needed one. I truly wish someone would come up with a simple phone service similar in features to the old encrypted phone service no longer available. Totally encrypted and secure a system without all these ad and third party let alone second party data miners taking your personal information and passwords and selling this to who knows who??? It, these email services, are not being regulated well if at all, and we the public deserve better. That holds true for a reliable simple phone service, similar in principle to the worlds best known now defunct service. I didn’t mention any names for a reason but I truly miss that simple secure cell phone service. It must be difficult to do because no one has been able to come up with something since that can give accountable and reliable and sincere authorities the freedom to investigate individuals who might be involved in crime yet not compromise the design security of the whole phone system. I do believe that concept is possible by having each service phone number assigned its own unique identity layer that can be easily isolated for forensic purposes yet keep the system code algorithm protected. Tell me what you think??? Jim A