When you go to compose a message on Gmail, there is the "to" field when you input who you send the email to. You can type in a name there (rather than an email), then Gmail will automatically match the name to an email.

Problem is when you copy and paste a bunch of names into the "to" box it does not work. I have hundreds on people on my contact list and I want it so whenever I have a list of such names I can copy-paste them to the "to" box so that their emails will be matched automatically. However this automatching feature only works when I enter a name one at a time, and I don't have time for that. Is there a way around this?

1 Answer 1


In Gmail, multiple contacts are separated by commas. If I needed to send an email to recipients

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

I would write them exactly as such in the "To" text field. The method allows for any number of contacts, according to Google.

This method also works with names on your contacts list. If your contacts contained a "John Smith" and a "Babe Ruth", then

John Smith, Babe Ruth,

would be valid. Bear in mind that names not followed by commas will not be valid unless the name is confirmed by the user via selecting from the recommended names that normally appear when typing recipient names. This includes names that come at the end of a list of names separated by commas. This question is addressed in "Sending to a Group of People" at Gmail Help.

The problem is that when contacts are pasted into the "to" text field, they do not contain an email address. The reason that verified recipients are grayed out is in Gmail is because they contain hidden text. The element for a verified recipient contains this code:

<input name="to" type="hidden" value="Mr. Test <[email protected]>">

Double clicking on a verified (gray) recipient reveals the true text: Mr Test <[email protected]>

Essentially, this means the only way to paste a recipient is with an email address, or a name and an email address. This is probably so that emails aren't sent to duplicate names, as Google allows you to store multiple contacts of the same name to a single account.

I know that this doesn't solve your problem to the parameters that you asked for, but I can think of two alternate solutions.

Create a contact group in Gmail. But I assume that this group is dynamic, which is why they need to be copied from a list.

A better solution may be: Add the email address next to the names on the list you are copying from in Name <[email protected]> format. (This format does not require the use of commas.)

  • Nice idea, but it didn't work for me.
    – ale
    Dec 4, 2015 at 3:11
  • @AlE. Are you sure that every name you're listing as a recipient is registered to your Gmail account as a contact? Dec 4, 2015 at 3:13
  • Yes. I used my wife and kids. I'm quite sure they're in my Google Contacts as I listed them.
    – ale
    Dec 4, 2015 at 3:14
  • I just now tested, it and it's working fine for me. If you're correctly formatting the names, and the names are in your contacts, this should work. Dec 4, 2015 at 3:21
  • Google recommends signing out, clearing the browser cache, and signing back in when experiencing auto-complete issues. support.google.com/mail/answer/… Dec 4, 2015 at 3:23

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