Facebook contact icon

If you have decided to delete your Facebook account and move on from the social network, there is some personal data that you’ll probably want to make sure you have saved to your computer first. For example, you’ll likely want to download a copy of the photos and videos you posted to Facebook, but also a copy of your contacts, including their names and phone numbers.

Admittedly, Facebook doesn’t make it easy for you to get ahold of that info, and the data you get doesn’t even come in a convenient CSV or VCF file. Still, we’ll make the best of it.

In this post, I will show you how to export your Facebook contacts to your computer so you can keep a backup of that data locally. Because the output is pretty messy, I will also show you how to clean up the contacts file provided by Facebook.

Export your Facebook contacts

As mentioned, Facebook doesn’t make it easy, but the company does provide a way to get an archive of your entire account. So if you want to get access to your contacts, you first have to request an archive of your Facebook account.

  1. We already published a detailed tutorial on how to request an archive of your Facebook account, so we won’t go over this again. Follow the steps in this guide first to get the archive, and then read on for further instructions.
  2. Once you have received your Facebook archive, download it, unzip it, and open the contact_info.htm file.
    List of Facebook contacts
  3. The not-so-fun part begins here. Using your mouse, select the entire list of contacts along with their phone numbers. Right click on the selected contacts, and choose Copy.
    Select Facebook contacts to export
  4. Open up a new Excel document, or if you use a Mac, a new Numbers spreadsheet.
  5. Using your mouse, right click on the upper left cell, and select Paste. You should now have two columns: one containing the names of your contacts, and the other their phone numbers.
    Paste Facebook contacts in spreasheet
  6. As you can see, the copy/pasting added some unwanted data in the phone number fields. We will have to clean this up by doing a simple “Find and Replace.” While in the spreadsheet, press the Command + F keys on your keyboard, which will bring up the Find and Replace tool. In the Find text field, put “contact: “. Make sure you respect the exact formatting of the text as displayed in the spreadsheet. Since we want to remove the extra text, we will leave the Replace field empty.
    Find and Replace Facebook contacts
  7. Click Replace All, and your spreadsheet will be cleaned up.
  8. Save the document.

You now have a copy of your Facebook contacts. Unfortunately, and because of the format, you won’t be able to easily port these contacts over to other applications, but at least you now have a back up of them.