How to export (or rather extract) e-mail addresses from Apple Mail


You have plenty of e-mails stored in Apple Mail but you have not yet created an address book which contains all e-mail addresses that have been used once ore more. Additionally, you need a CSV file with all these e-mail addresses to be able to edit or just use them in Excel or any other software.



This tutorial has been tested on Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion). To proceed with the first steps you can choose between two methods. Method 1 should work for most cases. Method 2 is for those users who imported old e-mails into Apple at some point in the past, e.g. in cases where you resetted your system, bought a new machine or installed a new OS. If you are not sure which method applies for you just use both one after the other. This may lead to duplicate entries in the address book but you can simply remove them by using a built-in command from the “Card” menu.

Method 1:

  • Start Apple Mail
  • “Window” menu, Last recipients
  • Select all addresses (CMD+A)
  • Button: Add to contacts

Method 2:

  • Start Apple Mail
  • “Plus” button (bottom left): Create smart mailbox
  • Rule: Receive all e-mails before [Date in the future]
  • Tick checkbox at “Include sent e-mails”
  • After a short while (if Spotlight is up-to-date) you will see all your e-mails in the smart mailbox
  • Select all e-mails (CMD+A)
  • “E-mail” menu, Add senders to contacts

Now you have stored all e-mail addresses from which you ever received1 an e-mail in Apple’s address book. Unfortunately, Apple does not provide any export function in its address book application. So the first part of this tutorial describes a workaround how to convert all address book entries into CSV by using the e-mail program Mozilla Thunderbird.

  • Start Apple Contacts (= address book)
  • Select all entries (CMD+A)
  • “File” menu, Export, Export vCard
  • Start Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Open address book in Thunderbird
  • “Extra” menu, Import
  • Choose the vCard file you created before
  • Entries are being imported
  • “Extra” menu, Export, Choose format tabulator-separated

Now you have all e-mail addresses as CSV and you can edit or just use them in Excel or any other software.

1) This method does not handle e-mail addresses from which you have never received an e-mail but only sent one or more e-mails to. Only method 1 takes care of this circumstance. Another solution is to use an Apple Script that we wrote. If you are interested in this script just send us an e-mail.

4 Gedanken zu „How to export (or rather extract) e-mail addresses from Apple Mail

  1. Is it possible to use method 1 but have them imported into a group in your address book, rather than be dotted throughout? I am halfway through sorting out my contacts and the thought of having to go through them again to find these email addresses is awful! Thank you

  2. Thank you I followed method 1 and then mozilla, the instructions work, but their were extra steps, like opening up the address book and selecting “tools” rather then “extra” in mozilla, but all worked, thank you!

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