Consolidate Multiple Email and Contacts Into One

February 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

For various reasons, we often end up with multiple email accounts: Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. It gets confusing and hard to keep track of. It also takes a lot of time to check for new mail on all the services.

The good news is that it is possible to consolidate all those email accounts into one, without losing anything stored on the other services.

You probably want to keep your email accounts active and receiving mail, at least for 90 days. You have had those addresses for a while, and, if people don’t know your new address, they have no other way to reach you.

I chose Google’s Gmail for my “one address”. It’s reliable, the gmail.com name is respected and widely used by both personal and business users. Gmail is searchable in many useful ways, and its spam filter is among the very best. Best of all, Gmail now lets you consolidate all your other email accounts very easily.

Of course you want to import to your “one address”, all your email contacts from the other services, AND your old email saved on those services. Gmail lets you do all that with a few simple steps.

Use the Gmail Import Feature
After logging into Gmail, in the upper right corner, click on Settings, then click the “Accounts and Import” tab. Next, click on “Import Mail and Contacts” and just follow directions. One by one, you will enter the email address and password for each of your other accounts.

You’ll be given the option to import contacts and old mail; import new mail arriving at the old address for 30 days; and to add the old mail address to the imported mail as a tag to tell you where it came from. Click “Start Import” and go do the same for your other email accounts.

Google advises you that the import process may take several hours, even up to two days, before you start seeing imported mail. In actual practice, I started receiving imported old mail within minutes. Your experience may vary. But importing goes on without you, you don’t even have to be logged on to Gmail.

Since Gmail has a “filters” function, you may want to set up a rule that routes mail from each old account into a specified subfolder, rather than have everything pile up in your main Inbox.

From here, you have only one webmail site to bookmark, and just one username and password to remember. Email checking will go much faster with only one account to check. And you’ll have all your contacts and messages in one place.

Frankie On Call uses Gmail every day and can help with any support or questions you might have.