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I'm in a bit of a pickle, I've been given an errand (or.. so I thought ;) ) to run, of cleaning up 1100 iCloud Contacts for a friend, who runs a little business. He also handed me 350 additional contacts in Excel Sheets to be added to his iCloud Contacts. (3 Excel files, 3 groups in iCloud Contacts, so he can switch between them).

Now, I can probably "kind of" pull off the Excel->CSV->Import to iCloud Contacts business, but there is a lot of data that needs to be merged into a Notes-entry inside the Contacts and to be made sure it's not lost. But I would appreciate any and all advice you could give on how to export a reasonable CSV that Contacts (I'm running OSX Mavericks, btw) where multicolumn content that goes into Notes will actually go into the Notes in Contacts.

But here's the real thing. Since he has a completely utterly borked up 1100+ contacts list with multiple duplicates, some entries with no names but just phone numbers, maybe duplicate names with differing e-mail addresses etc, which app or method would you recommend for cleaning it up?

I tried to google around for apps but all I could find was a fake website that (supposedly) listed 5 excellent Contacts -cleaning applications..

But when I started downloading the #1, I realised I was downloading it from the same server the website was running on - so it was I believe Cisdem that wrote the blog-entry masquerading as a reasonable review of all possible Contacts-managing applications. Now I'm not so convinced that I should try Cisdem at all, if they do shady things like that, I've never had good experiences with these types of fake-review-posting app developers' sites.

How should I proceed?

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A pickle indeed, data sanitizing is no fun and you have a doozy.

If you have access to his iCloud account you can go into contacts, select all of them and click on the gear icon to export them. I do believe that Apple only lets you export as a vCard.

I do believe there are a number of utilities that convert vcards to another format, some of them online.

Once converted I would be tempted to suck them all into an Excel (or other like Numbers, etc.) spreadsheet and do you data massaging there. But that would depend on your Spreadsheet-Fu. But getting it into a CSV format would be the first start. After that it's a matter of mapping all the right fields in an organized way so you can sort and find dupes.

Then it is a matter of getting the Excel data back into a CSV and then back to vcard format. Pssibly one of the online vcard to CSV sites do the reverse as well.

Hope that at least points you to a line of inquiry that works.

  • Actually, you can directly import a CSV file into Contacts.app. File->Inport... then select the CSV file. It'll have you map the fields once, then you can import the whole csv file. – Cullub Dec 26 '15 at 21:56
  • Hi, which apps would you recommend for converting Excel to Vcard formats? – esaruoho Jun 15 '16 at 19:46

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