How to Notify Friends of a Change in an Email Address

By Richard Bashara

Email forwarding sends a copy of email received to another inbox.
i Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Transitioning to a new email address is a fact of life as your Internet presence grows. Multiple inboxes can be useful for things like avoiding spam or tracking job applications, among other uses. Whatever your reasoning, there are bound to be contacts that you wish to keep when you change email addresses. When you switch addresses, be sure to properly inform your friends and contacts of your transition and keep your contacts backed up for future usage. Once your change is finalized, send a message out to your contacts. It’s not just courteous; it could be a new opportunity to rekindle old relationships.

Step 1

Send a message from your current address to contacts you plan to keep informing them that you are changing your email address. Include your new email address, if you have already created it, or let contacts know to expect a message from your new address once it has been created.

Step 2

Remove from your address book contacts that you do not wish to keep. Gmail, Yahoo and Windows Live Mail each utilize a system that allows users to perform batch actions by checking a box for more than one contact at a time.

Step 3

Export your cleaned address book in a CSV format, which will be easier to import to your new email address. Gmail users should click the red “Gmail” heading, select “Contacts” from the dropdown, and then click “Export.” Yahoo Mail users will need to open the “Options” menu, click “Contacts,” then “Tools,” followed by “Export.” Windows Live Mail users can simply click the “People” folder, followed by “Manage” and then “Export.”

Step 4

Create an email forwarding rule for messages that may still arrive at your old inbox during the change of address. Gmail users can click the "Settings" button followed by the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab, and then enter their new email address for mail forwarding. For Yahoo, click the “Settings” button followed by “Mail Options,” then click “POP & Forwarding” and fill out the new email address. Windows Live Mail users can click the "Settings" button followed by “More Email Settings” and then “Email Forwarding.”

Step 5

Follow up with contacts using your new address. Import your cleaned address book, and send an email to all your contacts letting them know who you are and that your contact information has changed. Gmail users will need to navigate to the "Contacts" menu, locate "More Actions," and click on "Import." Yahoo Mail users will need to click on the "Contacts" tab, followed by "Import Contacts," and select "Other" as the method. Windows Live Mail users can click on the "Outlook" button, followed by "People," and then "Import from File."