Extending LinkedIn Functionality: Export Selected Connections to a CSV File

22/05/13
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LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network with 225 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe, is an invaluable tool for networking. LinkedIn is able to solve many business tasks if you know how to use it and how to take advantage of the information available. Additional features make LinkedIn an indispensable tool in obtaining information about business contacts.

Every professional has hundreds or even thousands of connections spread across multiple companies, industries, and countries. And each person in a list connects with hundreds of potentially useful contacts. The more contacts a person gets – the more business opportunities he or she may have. DataArt’s Social Networks Competence Center decided to expose the functionality of LinkedIn and to create a feature that would take users’ interactions with contacts to the next level. See also: LinkedIn Usability Review

Got a Problem?

Say, you are a LinkedIn user, and would like to send an event invitation to your 1st degree connections, i.e. people that you know directly. Suppose you’d like to send it by email to those, who are located in the D.C. area. To do that you will need a list of your contacts from D.C. with email addresses.

You’d expect that all you need to do is to go to your Contacts, then to Connections, select a Location such as "Washington D.C. Metro Area", and Select all contacts. Then click an Export Connections button at the bottom of a page. Right? Wrong!

Unfortunately, the Export Connections command won’t export selected connections. It will export all of your contacts, leaving you to manually filter them.

So DataArt's Social Networks Competence Center decided to resolve this issue.

We Got a Solution!

First we wanted to produce a web application, which would allow a user to create a custom list of LinkedIn connections and export it to an MS Excel document. Alas it was not implemented, because LinkedIn doesn’t allow connections’ emails to be retrieved through their API. We needed a different approach.

The solution came in bookmarklet form. Bookmarklet is a web browser bookmark that contains JavaScript commands, which extend a browser's functionality. The bookmarklet we created allows exporting selected LinkedIn connections to a CSV file that can be opened with MS Excel.

How Does It Work?

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Install the bookmarklet by “drag and drop” to the Bookmarks bar.

Disclaimer: the bookmarklet was developed specifically for Google Chrome browser. It may not properly work in any other browser (Opera, Mozilla, etc).

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Go to the Connections page on LinkedIn and select several contacts.

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Press the bookmarklet - a CSV file with required information downloads to your computer.

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Open the resulting file with MS Excel, Google Docs or Numbers.It will contain all the required contact information.

To try it yourself you can download the necessary files from GitHub using this link.

Update: Information about the updated version of the script is available here.

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