May 21, 2015

Keep Your Friends to Yourself: Export Your Facebook Contacts


Editor's Note: Below is an update to our 2015 blog post, 3 Hacks to Get All of Your Facebook Contacts into One Place by Brandt Witt. While all three hacks are still valid ways to export your Facebook friends out of Facebook, we've found another way to export and download all of your Facebook information...including a list of your friends.

Yes, it is in fact possible to download your contacts and information out of Facebook and into your contacts/computer/CRM/real life. We all know the merits of having a full grasp on your network and all the contacts in your life that make up that network. Unfortunately with the closing of Facebook's API, we're a bit challenged when it comes to plugging your CRM or other apps directly into Facebook to access those contacts.

There's no easy way around getting that much-desired contact information, and while we've shared a few hacks in the past on how to sneak around Facebook's closed API and get your information exported, we're updating that with another option...albeit not a perfect option but an option nonetheless!

Facebook offers you a chance to download all of your information. This includes any photos of you or that you uploaded, any ads you've clicked or posts you shared, and most importantly, your friend list. The downside? It's merely a list of names. But it's a list you didn't have before...and that's improvement in our books.

Start exporting Facebook Contacts..

1. Sign into Facebook

2. In the top right hand corner, click on the downward facing arrow dropdown menu

3. Click on 'Settings' towards the bottom of that menu

4. You'll be redirected to your General Settings page where you usually can make changes to your overall profile, security, and settings within the platform. Towards the bottom of that page, you'll see 'Download a copy of your Facebook Data.' Click there!

5. You'll be prompted to re-enter your password for security purposes and then yet again, you'll need to click on to start getting your archived information. Click on 'Start My Archive' here and if you're feeling interested, go ahead and check out the 'and more' link down below to see what exactly will be included in your archive of data. You can also find that information here on their help site.

6. You'll get this email below from Facebook to the email address associated with your Facebook account.

7. Within an hour (our wait was only 10 minutes) you should receive this second email with a link to download your information. Take note that the link will only be active for a few days from when you got the email, so don't let your download linger for too long after you get the link.

8. You'll see this very familiar page again and be prompted to re-enter your password (again) before your download can begin.

9. Keep in mind, this is a fairly large .zip file you're about to download and it may take a while to get it on to your computer. But once you do, you might be a bit confused. What you'll see is the breakdown of the html of all the information.

10. From here, you can open up one of these items - it will automatically open in your browser. You can toggle throughout the different archived information once you open up the the page in your browser. But what you're most interested in is the 'Friends' tab.

11. Here's our big 'ol list. It's unclear what the order is here, but it's certainly not alphabetical or even by the most recent interaction. You'll first see a list of your current Facebook friends, scroll down for your 'sent friend requests', 'received friend requests', and 'removed friends'.

12. Our recommendation is to highlight your current friends, right click to copy, and then paste it into a spreadsheet. From there, you can split the cells, filter them into alphabetical order and get them organized.

Now what?

There's no ideal solution here. Especially when it's nearly impossible to export the contact information for all of your friends from Facebook. Now that you have a list of names, which is really, much easier to digest than the names and pictures you'll find when you look at your friends list, you have a few options as to what you can do with the list. First things first? Clear it out. The formatting makes it far easier to take stock of who your 'friends' are and if they're not crucial to your network or your purpose behind creating the can probably remove them (at least from your list here!)

If you export your connections from LinkedIn, you can merge the two lists and see who you have duplicate information for and who you may need to dig deeper into your archives to find that information...or who you may have to reach out to and point blank ask for their email address. This one requires some digging, but if you're looking to build up your contact database, this is the way to go.

The sky is the limit here, but the bottom line is that these days, it's necessary to get a full understanding of everyone in your network. With all of our profiles on social media platforms, to our several email addresses, it's easy to forget who we know or who we may need to follow-up with and check in. Aggregating a list of all of your contacts into one database allows you to assess who you need to reach out to and who you may not need in that database anymore. Take the time to search through, clear out, and make the most of your Facebook friends!

3 MORE Hacks to Get All of Your Facebook Contacts out of Facebook

We've written a couple of posts recently on these changes to the LinkedIn and Facebook APIs (Found Here and Here). Both of have either closed their doors or have given access to a select few. We aren't the only ones that have been affected, but we also want to make sure we have the proper solution for you.

Facebook has recently "closed," which means that almost no companies have access to the Facebook API. What this means for you is that you can no longer have Facebook information pulled into your favorite apps. Yet, there are workarounds to help you manage your Facebook relationships outside of Facebook. Today we'll focus on putting your Facebook Friends List into a CSV format, which is versatile and nearly universally accessible by all applications.

3 Facebook Contacts Workarounds:

Apple Contacts, Friends List print screen, and Friends' Birthdays calendar feed

1. Apple Contacts

Apple still has an integration with Facebook, and Apple Contacts is by far the easiest of our three workarounds for putting your Facebook friends in versatile spreadsheet format.

    1. First add your Facebook account as an account in your Apple Contacts. Click on Contacts - Add Account.

    1. Click on Facebook and hit Continue.

    1. Enter your Facebook login information

    1. Specify that you would like to import Contacts and Calendars.

    1. Wait a few minutes for Apple Contacts to import all your Facebook Friends.

    1. Select the Facebook group of contacts.

    1. Highlight all names brought in from Facebook in this grouping and go to File - Export - "Export to vCard." (vCards are in a file type known as VCF.)

    1. Take the VCF and import into your Google Contacts account. Login to your Gmail, go to Contacts, select the More drop-down, and select Import from that list of options. (If you don't have one, it's free and easy to set one up just for this purpose.)

    1. When prompted to choose a file, choose the VCF that we created from our Apple Contacts export in Step 6.

    1. Once loaded into Google Contacts, you can easily export to CSV. Click on the More drop-down once again, click Export, and specify the grouping of people you'd like.

11. You'll now have a CSV of all your Facebook Friends that you can use as you wish.

2. Friends List print screen

Facebook will present all your Facebook Friends on one screen if you go to your Friends List and scroll down enough, which can be copied over to a spreadsheet and used there

    1. Go to your Facebook Friends List and scroll all the way down. Wait! Don't stop scrolling. Facebook will load contacts bit by bit. Keep scrolling down until the loading is completely done and you're viewing your full Friends List.

    1. Print the page by your preferred method (Ctrl+P or the toolbar on your browser), and specify that you'd like to print to PDF.

    1. Open the PDF, and highlight your Friend's List from the first name all the way to the bottom. Copy this selection to your clipboard with Right-click+Copy, or Cmd+C for Macs and Ctrl+C for PCs.

    1. Now, hop over to your favorite spreadsheet software, such as Excel or Numbers, and make sure to paste special in order to paste plain text. In Mac, hit Edit at the top and Paste Special. In a PC, right click and select Paste Special.

    1. You'll now have one column in your spreadsheet that has name, number of friends, and the extra word Friends throughout. With some simple Find & Replace cleaning, you can eliminate the word "Friends "and any extra numbers, and you'll be left with a clean CSV of your Friends List. Go forth and be organized!

3. Friends' Birthdays calendar feed

This workaround is by far the most intricate, but you'll be duly rewarded for the extra challenge with more information. By following these steps, you'll be able to have a list of all your friends and their birthdays.

    1. Find your Facebook Friends' Birthdays calendar feed, located on the Events page. Copy this link, which starts with webcal://, to your clipboard.

    1. Place the iCal link into one of three calendar services: iCal, Outlook Calendar, or Yahoo! Calendar. This will import your Friends' Birthdays calendar to this calendar account. (Learn how to import to iCal, import to Outlook Calendar, and import to Yahoo! Calendar.)

    1. Now, export your Friends' Birthdays calendar from your calendar application, and export specifically to an ICS. iCal, Outlook, and Yahoo! all have different ways to export. Learn how to export from iCal, and how to export from Outlook or Yahoo!.

    1. Open the ICS file with your spreadsheet application by right-clicking and selecting Open With

    1. When the file opens, save as a CSV by doing File - Save As - CSV

    1. The CSV will contain the names and birthdays of all your Facebook friends, as well as a whole host of other unwanted info.

    1. You can proceed to clean up the unwanted information. Or...

    1. Another option is Gcal2Excel, which will generate a CSV automatically if you connect your Google Calendar account to their service. To take advantage of this option, first import your ICS file we just obtained into your Google Calendar. Then when you connect your Google Calendar to Gcal2Excel, you can export your Facebook Friends' Birthdays calendar from there. Learn how to import an ICS file to Google Calendar.


Whether you decided to go the Apple Contacts, Friends List print screen, or Friends' Birthdays calendar feed route -- congratulations! You've taken your data into your own hands and now have the ability to engage with your Facebook relationships elsewhere.

To learn more about turning relationships into bottom-line results for your business, you should start your free 30-day trial of Contactually.