How to Set a Default Email Address for a Gmail Contact


After having a Gmail account for years now, you've likely accumulated many contacts, some of which you probably have multiple email addresses for. One feature that can potentially trip us up is dealing with a contact that has multiple email addresses. In this short article we'll see how you can get Gmail to suggest one address over another, which is helpful when the contact has a primar/default address you use more often.

The Multiple Email Dilemma

It's pretty likely that you have a contact that has both a personal and professional email. Today, most people do have multiple email addresses for work, personal stuff, spam-prone sites, and for things like newsletters and subscriptions.

Ever tried to send a vital report to Sarah from marketing, but instead sent it to Sarah's personal email filled with her cat videos? Yes, this can be a problem, especially if you frequently have to email Sarah.

By setting a default email address for your contacts in Gmail, you're making sure you always send stuff to the right inbox. Gmail cleverly shows the default email first in the auto-complete suggestions.

How to Set a Default Email Address for a Contact in Gmail

Now let's stop dancing around the issue and actually do the do. Handling multiple contacts in Gmail is as easy as pie. I say this because I just recently learned how to bake a pie, but if you're not into baking, let's say it's as easy as ordering pie.

  1. Open Gmail Contacts in your web browser.
  2. Find and click on the contact you want to set a default email for.
  3. Once the contact details are visible, click on the "Edit" button.
  4. Move the default email address to the first position. You may need to delete and re-add one or more email addresses to make this happen.
  5. Click "Save".

And that's it! Whichever email address is in the first position is the one shown as the default when sending an email. It's as simple as that.

Dealing with Multiple Contacts

Now, let us consider another scenario - when your contact has multiple different entries in your contact list. In this case, each contact entry will have its separate default email, regardless of whether it's the same person. This can complicate things even more, but luckily there's a simple solution for this:

You can simply merge your contacts. This action combines all the entries of the same person into one. This can help organize and simplify your contact list.


In this short article we saw how you can set a default email address for a contact in Gmail. This is helpful when you have a contact with multiple email addresses and you want to make sure you always send emails to the right address. It's also helpful when you have multiple contacts for the same person and you want to make sure you always send emails to the right contact.

Last Updated: November 29th, 2023
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