Gmail keeps a history of all the contacts you have ever sent an email, so overtime your Gmail contact list will be filled with hundreds of contacts. It becomes really difficult to manage a huge contact list, so it might be a good idea to remove duplicate contacts in Gmail, merge and consolidate contacts and cleanup your Gmail address book.
Removing duplicate contacts in Gmail is fairly easy, here are the steps:
1. Login to your Gmail account and click “Contacts”
2. This will load Gmail’s contact manager where you will see all your contacts listed one by one. If you don’t see all your contacts, please click “Directory” in the left sidebar.
3. Pull doen the “More” button and choose “Find and merge duplicates”
4. This will open a small overlay window where Gmail will list all duplicate contacts that are present in your Gmail account.
Please note the following points before you merge duplicate contacts in Gmail:
- Gmail automatically adds an email address to your contact list whenever you send a message to a new email address. So if you email John Smith at email@example.com and email the same John Amith at John@anotherdomain.com, you will have two contacts with the same name.
- Gmail compares the values of other fields e.g First name, Last name, Google Plus profile URL, Phone number, address and other data to find duplicate contacts. Hence, if two of your contacts have similar values for other fields, they will be classified as duplicates.
- Gmail does a great job in listing all the email addresses of all the contacts who have multiple email addresses. Before merging duplicate contacts, you will be able to see which duplicate email addresses will be merged into a parent contact. However, there is no way to choose the default email address of a contact, when its duplicates are merged. This means, all the alternate email addresses of duplicate contacts will be merged in the “alternate email address” field of the merged contact.
- This step is irreversible, so be 200% sure before you proceed any further.
I maintain multiple Gmail accounts and its a pain to manage an ever expanding list of contacts for my primary work email. Every couple of months, I use this method to filter out duplicate contacts in Gmail and merge them to the primary contact and email address I correspond often. This keeps my Gmail contact list clean, clutter free and gives me a consolidated view of contacts.
Related: Import LinkedIn contacts in Gmail