Brian Cliette

Export Contacts from ActiveCampaign: A Simple Guide

Ever found yourself scratching your head, trying to figure out how to export contacts from ActiveCampaign? Well, you’re not alone. As a seasoned digital marketer, I’ve been there, and I know the struggle is real.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step. Whether you’re looking to migrate to another platform or simply need a backup of your contacts, I’ve got you covered.

Understanding the Importance of Exporting Contacts

Before diving into the technical how-tos, it’s crucial to grasp why regularly exporting your contacts from ActiveCampaign is a fundamental practice. Data is the lifeblood of any digital marketing strategy, and contacts make up a significant chunk of that data.

Here’s why you should make it a habit:

  • Data Security: Your contact list is a valuable asset. Exporting it ensures that you have a backup in case of unexpected data loss or account issues.
  • Freedom and Flexibility: Having your own copy of contacts gives you the liberty to use them across multiple platforms, making it easier to integrate with other tools or switch services without hassle.
  • List Hygiene: Exporting allows you to maintain a clean list. You can externally scrub your list for duplicates or outdated contacts to improve deliverability and engagement.

However, some marketers overlook the importance of keeping their data portable. They may find themselves trapped in a platform’s ecosystem, which can lead to unwelcome surprises if the need to switch or integrate arises.

It’s worth noting that ActiveCampaign’s terms of service allow for the export of contacts, so you can — and should — take full advantage. By exporting, you’re not just following best practices; you’re future-proofing your marketing efforts and expanding your operational capabilities.

Maintaining control over your contact list also ensures that you meet data protection regulations like the GDPR. Having a downloadable copy allows you to respond to data requests from individuals should they exercise their right to access.

Now that you’re aware of the strategic advantages of exporting contacts, let’s move on to the steps you need to take to perform this essential operation.

Step 1: Accessing the ActiveCampaign Dashboard

When you’re ready to export your contacts from ActiveCampaign, the first thing you’ll need to do is log into your account. Navigating to the ActiveCampaign login page, you’ll be prompted to enter your username and password. Once you’ve signed in, you’ll find yourself on the dashboard, which is the control center for all your marketing activities.

The dashboard is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive. Even if you’re a newbie, it’s straightforward to find your way around. Looking at the top menu, you’ll notice several tabs such as Campaigns, Contacts, Lists, and Reports. Each of these tabs is crucial for different aspects of your online marketing efforts but for the purpose of exporting contacts, we’re mainly interested in the ‘Contacts’ tab.

Clicking on the ‘Contacts’ tab will take you to a new page where all your contact information is stored and managed. This section is often updated with real-time data, making it easier for you to see the most current information about your subscribers. Here, you can view individual contact profiles, monitor engagement levels, and segment your lists to target specific groups more effectively.

Before proceeding with the export, take a moment to review your contacts. This is a good chance to make sure that your lists are up-to-date and that there are no glaring issues with the data. Remember, exporting incorrect or outdated information will only hinder your marketing efforts down the road.

After ensuring everything is in order, move your cursor to the options menu normally located near the search bar or at the top of your contact list. This menu houses the essential tools for managing your contact data, including the export feature which is what we’re focusing on now.

With a clear understanding of how to access and navigate the ActiveCampaign dashboard, you’ll find that exporting your contacts is a seamless process—a manageable task that ensures your marketing machine runs smoothly without data hindrance.

Step 2: Navigating to the Contacts Section

After logging in to the ActiveCampaign dashboard, it’s crucial to quickly find your way to the Contacts section. Here’s where you’ll manage and oversee all the important details of your mailing list.

Once in the dashboard, look for the Contacts tab. Normally, you’ll find it located in the navigation bar or possibly within a dropdown menu, depending on the customization of your dashboard. I always recommend familiarizing yourself with the layout of the platform, as it’ll save you time in the long run.

The Contacts section is the hub for all contact-related activities. You’ll see a list of your contacts displayed, complete with various details such as email, phone number, and engagement stats. ActiveCampaign does an excellent job of organizing this information, making it easy to review at a glance.

Before exporting your contacts, you might want to take a moment to clean up your list. This could include:

  • Removing duplicate entries
  • Updating outdated information
  • Segmenting contacts into groups for targeted marketing campaigns

By doing these cleanups, you ensure that the data you export is the most current and useful for your business needs. Sorting and filtering options are available at your fingertips in ActiveCampaign, and utilizing these tools effectively can dramatically improve the quality of your contact list.

Remember to take advantage of the search functionality if you’re looking for specific contacts or need to quickly verify information. With all the prep work done, you’ll be ready to move on to the actual export process, which is just around the corner.

Step 3: Selecting the Contacts You Want to Export

Once you’ve reviewed and cleaned up your contact list, the next step is selecting the specific contacts you wish to export. ActiveCampaign provides the flexibility to export your entire list or segments of it. Here’s how to make your selection:

Firstly, go to the Contacts section on your ActiveCampaign dashboard. You’ll find a list of all your contacts displayed here. Depending on the purpose of your export, you may not need to export every contact.

Filter Contacts for Export

If you need to export a targeted group of contacts, use the powerful sorting and filtering tools. Perhaps you’ve created an email campaign tailored for leads from a recent webinar or for those who clicked a specific link in your last newsletter. By applying the appropriate filters, you can narrow down your list to these specific individuals.

Applying Tags and Segments

For more precise control, use tags and segments:

  • Tags work well for categorizing contacts based on their actions or engagement with your content.
  • Segments are perfect for grouping contacts based on criteria such as location, subscription date, or website activity.

Remember, you can also use the search bar to quickly locate contacts. Simply type in an email, name, tag, or any relevant information connected to the contacts you’re looking for.

Once you’ve identified the contacts for export, select them by checking the boxes next to each contact’s name. If you want to select all contacts from the filtered results, you can use the check box at the top of the list to select everyone in your current view.

ActiveCampaign also offers the ability to Save a Segment for future use. This can be a time-saver if you regularly export the same group of contacts. After setting up your filters and search criteria, simply save the segment by clicking on the ‘Save as a Segment’ button.

Exporting the right contacts helps maintain the relevance and effectiveness of your marketing strategies. Take advantage of these tools to ensure you’re reaching out to the people most interested in your message.

Step 4: Exporting the Contacts

After carefully selecting the contacts and ensuring that my list is refined and targeted, it’s time to move on to the actual export process. ActiveCampaign provides a straightforward mechanism to export contacts, which can usually be completed in just a few clicks. First, I navigate to the Contacts page, where I’ve got my filtered list ready. From here, there’s an Export option, usually found as a button or a link within the interface.

Clicking the ‘Export’ button initiates an immediate action. A dialog box might appear, prompting me to select the format for my export. The options typically include CSV (comma-separated values) and other spreadsheet formats, like Microsoft Excel (XLS). CSV files are widely compatible with a variety of applications and services, making them the go-to choice for data export. For meticulous data management, I ensure to double-check the file format selection before proceeding.

When the format is selected, ActiveCampaign may ask which fields to include in the export. It’s a critical step because it dictates the kind of data I’ll work with later. Here are the fields I often include:

  • Email Address
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Phone Number
  • Tags

I always make sure to include any custom fields that are relevant to my upcoming campaigns or data analysis. Sometimes, I might need demographic information or past purchase history – it all depends on the goals I’m setting for the use of this data.

Once I’ve selected the necessary fields, I confirm the export. ActiveCampaign then prepares the file. Depending on the size of my list, this preparation could take a few minutes. ActiveCampaign sends a notification to my account email or displays a message within the dashboard when the export file is ready. I keep an eye out for this, so I can download the file immediately and proceed with my marketing activities.

Step 5: Choosing the Desired Export Format

When I’ve refined my contact list and am ready to export, ActiveCampaign presents me with multiple format options. The choice of format should align with how I plan to use the data moving forward. Typically, ActiveCampaign supports common formats such as CSV, TXT, and Excel. The CSV format is versatile and widely accepted by various systems, making it a reliable choice for most users, including myself.

To select the format that’s right for my requirements, I follow these steps:

  • Navigate to the ‘Export’ option within the Contacts section.
  • In the export window, click the drop-down menu labeled ‘File Type’.
  • Choose the desired export format from the list provided by ActiveCampaign.

For instance, if I plan to import this contact list into another CRM or email marketing platform, CSV is often the go-to format as it’s supported by most software. However, if I’m aiming for data analysis or reporting within Microsoft Excel, then opting for an Excel file might make more sense. TXT files, although less common for contact lists, offer a plain text alternative that might be useful in certain specific scenarios.

Additionally, depending on the chosen format, I might adjust which contact fields to export. This is because different systems or purposes may require different data points. To ensure that I’m only exporting the data that I need, I:

  • Check or uncheck the boxes next to the field names in the ‘Fields to include in export’ section.
  • Use the search bar within this section to quickly find specific fields.

By carefully considering the export format and the data fields, I set the stage for a smooth transfer of information, ensuring that once my file is ready, I’m all set to integrate my contact data seamlessly with other tools or for analytical purposes.

Step 6: Downloading the Exported Contacts

Once ActiveCampaign has finished preparing your export file, you’ll receive a notification, typically via email, that your data is ready for download. Excitement aside, it’s critical not to rush and to mindfully download your contacts. The download link will be accessible directly within the notification; however, I always recommend logging back into your ActiveCampaign account to ensure the download process is secured within the platform’s environment.

After logging in, navigate back to the Contacts section where you previously managed your list. Here you’ll find an ‘Exports’ tab which may not have caught your eye before. Clicking on this tab brings up a list of all the contact exports you’ve initiated. It lays them out in chronological order with the most recent at the top – convenience prioritized! For easy identification, each file is accompanied by a timestamp and file format, which means you can track multiple exports effortlessly.

When you locate your desired export, simply click on the ‘Download’ button alongside it. A key step to remember is the file will typically download in a .csv or .txt format, depending on the earlier selection you made. These formats are universal in their compatibility, which means you’ll have no trouble opening them up in spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Importantly, you should check for any prompts or pop-up blockers that may prevent the download from starting and ensure your internet connection is stable throughout the process.

To stay organized, it’s a good idea to rename the downloaded file immediately upon saving it to your computer. I like to include the export date and a brief description of the contact segment within the file name. It helps me keep track of multiple files over time without having to open each one to see its contents.

Monitoring your exported contacts doesn’t end with the download. It’s vital to store the data securely and back it up to prevent any loss. Also, be aware of how you share the file, especially if it contains sensitive information. I prefer using encrypted storage services and sharing the data only with trusted team members who require access. Remember, the security of your contacts’ data reflects on your business’s integrity, so handle it with the utmost care.

Tips for Troubleshooting Export Issues

Sometimes, when you’re exporting contacts from ActiveCampaign, you might run into issues. That’s where I come in to share some troubleshooting tips that have helped me overcome common hurdles.

Check Your Internet Connection
Firstly, ensure that your internet connection is stable. Weak or intermittent connections can cause the export process to fail. I’d advice a quick test on another device to make sure it’s not your connection causing the problems.

Verify ActiveCampaign Server Status
On occasion, ActiveCampaign servers may be experiencing downtime. You can verify the server status by visiting their official status page or Twitter feed. This should tell you whether there are any ongoing issues that might be affecting the export function.

Adhere to Export Limits
ActiveCampaign places limits on the number of contacts you can export at one time. If you’re trying to export too many contacts, this may be the crux of the issue. Breaking your export job into smaller batches often helps circumvent this problem.

Inspect Your Filter Settings
Sometimes the issue lies in how you filter your contacts. Double-check your tags, segments, and search criteria to ensure they’re set up correctly. Incorrect filters can lead to incomplete or empty exports.

Check for Browser Compatibility Issues
Certain browser extensions or outdated web browser versions may interfere with the export process. Try switching to a different browser or disabling extensions temporarily to see if that resolves the issue.

If these tips don’t resolve your exporting woes, reaching out to ActiveCampaign’s customer support team can provide you with the assistance you need. Their expertise can help navigate more complex issues that may not be immediately apparent.

Remember, when dealing with technical glitches, patience is key. Don’t hesitate to go step-by-step, and more often than not, you’ll find the solution that works.


Exporting contacts from ActiveCampaign doesn’t have to be a hassle. By following the steps I’ve outlined, you can efficiently manage your contact list and ensure it’s up-to-date and organized. Remember to handle the data with care, as it’s not just about getting contacts out of a system but safeguarding their information too. If you hit a snag, don’t hesitate to tap into the resources available—ActiveCampaign’s support team is there to help. With your contacts now in hand, you’re ready to take your marketing efforts to the next level. Keep this guide bookmarked for your next export—it’s a resource you’ll want to come back to.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I ensure my ActiveCampaign contacts list is clean before exporting?

To clean up your ActiveCampaign contacts list, review it for any inaccuracies, duplicates, or outdated information and remove anything unnecessary. This will simplify the export process and ensure the quality of your data.

What are the steps to select contacts for export in ActiveCampaign?

Select contacts for export by using the filter, tag, segment, and search functions in ActiveCampaign. Create the criteria that match the contacts you wish to export, and then proceed to the export option within the platform.

Where can I find the ‘Exports’ tab to download my ActiveCampaign contacts?

The ‘Exports’ tab is located within the Contacts section in ActiveCampaign. Once you’ve exported your contacts, navigate to this tab to access and download the exported file.

How should I rename the exported contacts file from ActiveCampaign?

Rename the exported contacts file meaningfully, often including the export date and type of contacts (e.g., “Contacts_Export_04152023_ActiveClients”) for easy identification and organization.

What is the best practice for storing and backing up ActiveCampaign exported contacts?

Store and back up your ActiveCampaign exported contacts in a secure location, such as an encrypted hard drive or a cloud service with robust security features. Make regular backups and limit access to authorized personnel only.

How can I safely share my ActiveCampaign exported contacts file?

To share your exported contacts file safely, use a secure file transfer service, encrypt the file, and ensure that only authorized recipients can access it to protect sensitive information.

What should I do if I encounter issues while exporting contacts from ActiveCampaign?

If you face issues when exporting contacts from ActiveCampaign, check your internet connection, ActiveCampaign server status, export limits, filter settings, and browser compatibility. If these don’t help, contact ActiveCampaign’s customer support for assistance.

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About me

My name is Brian Cliette; I help brands and entrepreneurs find sustainable paths to sales growth on the social internet.

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