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Problem when importing .csv contacts file

This article provides a workaround for the following issues, which may occur during the import of a .csv (comma separated values) file into Yahoo Contacts:

  • Error: "Sorry, we can't read this file format. Please try again."
  • Problems with only some contact information importing.

The format of column headers in the .csv file doesn't match the format required by Yahoo Contacts. This may happen if the .csv file was not originally exported from a Yahoo account.

To be able to import your contacts you will need to change the formatting of your contact information to match the format required by Yahoo Contacts. Contact information is exported and imported by contact tools in the .csv (short for "comma separated values") file format. We have instructions below to take you through the process of changing the formatting.

To change the formatting, you'll need to use a program like Microsoft Excel. You'll make a copy of your .csv file and strip out the data and then enter the correct column headers to prepare it for your contact data.

Once you've done that, you'll need to open your original .csv file that didn't import, copy the sections of data, and paste the data into the new .csv you have prepared with new formatting. Follow the steps we've outlined below to prepare a newly formatted .csv file and then add your contact data to it.

To prepare a new .csv file:

  1. Export a new Yahoo Contacts .csv file.
    - For instructions, see our help article about how to export contacts.
  2. Open the .csv file on your computer using Microsoft Excel, or a similar program.
  3. Delete all data within it, except for the column headers that are in row 1.
    - Headers are located in row 1 in the file, they have header titles like "First," "Middle," "Last," etc.
    - Now you have a .csv file with the correct format of column headers, and no data in rows 2, 3, 4, etc.
    - Note: A full list of column headers in the correct order (separated by commas) is listed in the "Additional Information" section at the bottom of this article.

To add your contact data to your new correctly formatted .csv file:

  1. If you don't already have it open, open the new, correctly formatted .csv file you just created.
    - Note: You can use Microsoft Excel, or a similar program to open .csv files.
  2. Open the other .csv file you were unable to import into Yahoo Contacts.
  3. With the two files open, copy and paste the corresponding contacts data from the old .csv file, to the new, correctly formatted .csv file.
    - Note: Only copy one column at a time and do not copy the headers from the old file, only the data in the rows under the header.
  4. Save your changes and close the files.
  5. The new file can now be imported into your Yahoo Contacts.
    - For instructions, see our help articles about how to import contacts.

Here is a full listing of all the column headers in their correct order (separated by commas):

  • First,Middle,Last,Nickname,Email,Category,Distribution Lists,Messenger ID,Home,Work,Pager,Fax,Mobile,Other,Yahoo! Phone,Primary,Alternate Email 1,Alternate Email 2,Personal Website,Business Website,Title,Company,Work Address,Work City,Work State,Work ZIP,Work Country,Home Address,Home City,Home State,Home ZIP,Home Country,Birthday,Anniversary,Custom 1,Custom 2,Custom 3,Custom 4,Comments,Messenger ID1,Messenger ID2,Messenger ID3,Messenger ID4,Messenger ID5,Messenger ID6,Messenger ID7,Messenger ID8,Messenger ID9,Skype ID,IRC ID,ICQ ID,Google ID,MSN ID,AIM ID,QQ ID

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