I am looking to clean up the contacts in Contact Builder.

There are many records (about 5x the amount) than I am actually using in my Marketing Cloud Email Studio instance (All Subscribers).

We currently do not have marketing cloud connected to any external sources or a CRM.

There doesn't seem to be an "Export All" or way to create a list of all the Contacts in Contact Builder. Best practice delete instructions say to use MobilePush or Mobile studio to create a filtered list...but we don't have that module.

My plan is to export all contacts from Contact Builder, identify contacts that are not in use by any channel, don't have email addresses associated with them, and have been inactive for longer than 3 years and remove them. (Yes, I am sure I want to do this and am aware of the implications of doing so.) We are being charged for having too many contacts in Contact Builder and I need to remove an estimated 3 million records.

Is there anyway to extract all contacts from Contact Builder with the fields seen in the tool so I can make a Data Extension or list manually for removal?

3 Answers 3


At the moment there is no way to query All Contacts. It was available for a short time but it caused massive performance issues, so they discontinued it.

Your way to go is:

  1. Create a support ticket to extract All Contacts to a data extension. They can include the attributes that are part of the central Contacts table (system attributes).
  2. You can then use this data extension for queries to isolate contacts you want to delete.
  3. Make sure to clear the All Contacts data extension, give it a data retention policy or make it sendable if you want to completely clear out all data about the contacts you want to remove
  • DIng Ding! You are correct sir! I just got off the phone with support. The only way to do it now is through an engagement or through Mobile Push. The rep also gave the same explanation as you. Thank you for the info!
    – Bread2287
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 19:52
  • Would you please be so kind to mark the question as solved by the answer? Thanks :) Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 19:58
  • 3
    Support is not able to provide customers with an extract of All Contacts. You should follow the article below. help.salesforce.com/…
    – PAA
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 18:04
  • PAA: Support has done this before and not every customer has Mobile Connect, which is required for the process. This is also stated in the article you linked. Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 22:29

What worked for me was using the "Create Mobile List" button in Contact Builder, you can find it on the "All Contacts" tab, under the "Mobile Lists" section. I am unsure if this section only exists for those with Mobile Push and/or Mobile Connect, but according to Salesforce Help articles this seems to be a safe assumption.

With that "Mobile List" button, I made a List with only this criteria: Contact Key is not null.

I then ran the List and it successfully filtered every Contact into the list (the number of records in the list matched my All Contacts number).

On the List screen there is an 'export' button. For my list, it was 27mb so I had to export to my FTP site, then access the FTP site to retrieve the file.

EDIT: When you go to retrieve the file, you will most likely encounter this documented issue Export of a Mobile Filtered List results in an empty file. The solution in this article works to get an eventual export of all Contacts, however the limitation is that you can really only get an export of the Key for each Contact record, not the rest of the Contact properties.

  • The linked document's solution worked for me to get a data extension of subscriberkeys for every contact. That's a start! Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 21:40
  • @GailParsloe Once you have the SubscriberKey, then what? How do you identify who's a duplicate? I have this list, but it doesn't tell me which Contact_keys have an email address that is also a SubscriberKey Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 17:57

I tried the above suggestions but ended up doing the following:

  1. In Email Studio create a Data Extension with the fields required from the _subscribers data view (Google "Data View: Subscribers" for documentation).

N.B. Ensure fields are nullable as this may cause the query to fail.

  1. In Automation studio create an SQL Query Activity. If you only need 3 fields from the subscribers data view it would be:

SELECT SubscriberID, Status, EmailAddress FROM _Subscribers

You need to ensure the order of the fields in the SELECT statement matches the order of fields in the Data Extension.

  1. Set the SQL query to overwrite the Data Extension you've created, then save and Run Once

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