A Backup Plan for Your Email List

It goes without saying…if you lose your writing, you lose everything. But again and again I hear writers bemoan the sad day when all their data was lost. Either their computer froze, they forgot to save, or something worse. It would be just as horrible to lose all email addresses.

I learned that hard lesson years ago.

Back It Up, Ma’am

I’ve had a few disasters with losing data. I finally learned to back up my documents, my manuscripts, my finances, and anything else I considered really important on a regular basis. Some back up their material on iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, or other cyberspace areas, believing it to be a very secure. Are you sure? What if you lost your access for some reason or lost your password to get in? An exterior hard drive, DVDs or flash drives may prove safer – or at the least, another option. Then you are assured to save your work and your email when putting those objects in a safe place.

A Dismal Day

Working in a large organization, I was tasked to create a database of over 300 names, addresses, social numbers, and much more data. The task wasn’t hard, but it was tedious. After finishing the weeks long work, I decided to switch a few fields around to make the database more attractive to work in. Some of you already know where this is headed. 😦

In creating a more user-friendly format to work in (my opinion), it wasn’t necessary. In so doing, I corrupted the database and erased almost all the data. With fear and intimidation, I told my boss what I’d done. A little smile escaped his lips as he shook his head. “Well, I guess you’ll have to start over,” was his only reply. You would have thought that taught me a good lesson.

What About your Email?

Have you thought about backing up your email addresses? What if your computer died, lightening struck, or your email provider decided to drop you? Do you have a record of your email addresses? For those of us who have an extensive email list, it’s not one we’d like to lose.

Backing Up Email Lists

Depending on the internet service provider (ISP) you have, backing up your email list may be different. However, if you have your email through a public provider like Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, or Live, this option will work easily for you.

IF YOU HAVE OUTLOOK (Hotmail or Live)

Go to outlook.livecom, or hotmail.com to open up your email.

Click on the PEOPLE link. It may be at the bottom of your email or on the side.


It will ask in which format you want to export the contacts. Choose the CSV file you want.


Go to Google Contacts. Not sure where this is? Click on the nine-dot square in the top menu, scroll down to Contacts, and open it.

When all contacts appear, click on the first name. A pop-up box will appear where you can select ALL the contacts at once. Select ALL.

Then, click on the three dots

On the next screen, select “Export”

Choose which CSV file you want. If you rely on Google sheets, you’ll want a Google CSV. If you have Microsoft Excel, you may want the Outlook CSV. Either one will open up in a spreadsheet with all your addresses and any other information you’ve added to the vCard.


Once it’s backed up on your computer, save it in another safe place as well.

These instructions are for the most recent versions of public email. If you have an older version of Outlook, there are videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to backup your email lists.


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