I am meeting with a customer this week to help them leave AOL. He needs to recover his address book from AOL so he can move it to Gmail.

This solution below seems to be the best I have found so far so I though I would pass this along for those of you (which should be everybody) that needs to leave AOL. http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/mtarchive/exporting_an_aol_address_book_1.html

  1. Sign in to AOL and use the keyword “Communicator” to find AOL’s free email client. Download it and install it.
  2. Run it. Go to the addressbook. Select “All contacts” from the categories on the left. Go to File > Export and save it. You now have an LDIF file.
  3. If you don’t already have a copy of Thunderbird, go get yourself one. It’s free. (It’s also a damn good mail client.)
  4. Go to Tools > Address book in Thunderbird. In the address book do Tools > Import, and import the LDIF file you created. Thunderbird will make a new address book in the list in the left pane, so you don’t have to worry that your AOL addresses will get sprinkled among your others.
  5. In Thunderbird’s address book, select the address book you just imported, do Tools > Export and export it as a CSV (comma separated) file. You now have a file that Gmail can import. Sort of.
  6. Log into Gmail. Click on the Contacts link to the left. In the Contacts window, click on the Import link in the upper right. Browse to the CSV file and click “Import.” It’ll probably fail.
  7. Open the CSV file with a spreadsheet program. Delete empty columns an. Add a first row that provides a label for each column. Try using the labels “First Name,” “Last Name,” “Email Address,” “Street Address” and “Phone.” (I couldn’t get anything to import except the names and email addresses, but I gave up because it was going to be easier to manually type in the few phone numbers, etc. If you have a more complex address book, you should experiment more than I did.)
  8. Save the spreadsheet as a CSV file.
  9. Repeat step #6
  10. Call up AOL and tell them to take a hike.

If I find a better solution I will post it.

Loren Nason
Future of Real Estate Technology

10 Comments

  1. Laser on March 27, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    It doesnt work anymore, AOL has dropped, and removed AOL Communicator from its keywords. It cant be downloaded anymore.

  2. Jay on April 5, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    You can still get it to work using old versions of the communicator.
    http://ftp.newaol.com/jxz/n11gmwxyz/ac_install.exe

  3. Loren Nason on April 5, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks Jay.

    I had actually emailed him a different copy that I have but I’ll keep that link up.

  4. Carlton Bale on April 25, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Can you please send me a copy of the latest version of AOL Communicator? Thanks!

  5. Cathy on April 25, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Please, can you send me a copy of AOL Communicator too? The link in #2 doesn’t work.

  6. Loren Nason on April 25, 2008 at 10:05 pm
  7. Bryant Arms on December 4, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    AOL is a trap. Encourage people to avoid it.

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  9. Paul on January 24, 2009 at 5:59 am

    Thank’s for the communicator download. Followed the instructions, and did a lot of hand editing of the resulting CSV file but it worked a treat. The father in law is finally experiencing the internet as it should be, without the curse of AOL.

  10. Jade on September 3, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Hey, I discovered an event EASIER way! Just go to SETTINGS in your gmail acount click the tab that says ACCOUNTS AND IMPORTS click IMPORT FROM ANOTHER ADDRESS and then imput the email address and password, it will ask you what you want to import, such as emails, address book…
    and presto! I now have all of my emails and contacts from my AOL account in my GMAIL account. When i type in an email address or name, the email pops up. Works the best!

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