Google Chrome only gives you the option to import passwords directly from Firefox. But it also requires that both browsers be installed on the same PC or Mac. So if you plan to import your login information from another browser or computer, you should trust the good old CSV file.
Most browsers, including Chrome, allow you to easily export passwords to a spreadsheet. But importing said data from a CSV file is another matter entirely. Although Chrome has the ability to import passwords via CSV, this is an experimental feature that you must activate manually.
However, there is a problem. The browser flag that allows you to enable the ability to import passwords via CSV continues to appear and exit from different versions of Chrome. As of this writing, version 80 of Chrome includes the flag, but it was missing in several previous versions of Chrome.
The first method listed below shows what you need to do to activate the experimental functionality via the browser import password hint. But if your version of Chrome does not have it, there are two additional methods that should allow you to force the CSV password import into Chrome.
Warning: Importing passwords from a CSV file will overwrite similar password entries already saved in Chrome. Therefore, consider creating a backup of your existing Chrome passwords to another CSV file before you begin.
2. Activate CSV password import via command prompt (CMD) or terminal
If the password import flag is not available in Chrome, you can use the command prompt (Windows) or the terminal (macOS) to forcibly activate the ability to import passwords via CSV. However, you must follow the steps each time you want to use the feature. But since you’ll barely import passwords all the time, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Note: Quit all instances of Google Chrome that are running before you start. You can use another browser to follow the steps below, or you can copy them offline for reference.
Google Chrome – Windows
Step 1: Open the Start menu, type cmd, then click Open.
2nd step: Copy and paste the command below into the command prompt console, then press Enter:
cd "Program Files (x86)GoogleChromeApplication"
Step 3: Copy and paste the following command, then press Enter:
Once the command is executed, Chrome will launch automatically.
Step 4: Go to Chrome Settings> Passwords, then click the three-dot icon next to Saved Passwords.
Click the option labeled Import, then select the CSV file from which you want to import your passwords.
Google Chrome – macOS
Step 1: Open Finder, click OK, and then click Utilities.
2nd step: Double-click Terminal.
Step 3: Type the following command in Terminal, then press Enter:
/Applications/Google Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google Chrome -enable-features=PasswordImport
Chrome will launch automatically after the command is executed.
Step 4: Go to Chrome Settings> Passwords, and click the three-dot icon next to Saved Password.
Use the Import now visible option to import your passwords from a CSV file.
3. Use DevTools to display the import option
Another method to forcibly activate the ability to import passwords is to use the DevTools feature built into Chrome to “view” the import option. But just like with the above method, you need to do this every time you want to import passwords via CSV into Chrome.
Step 1: Go to Chrome Settings> Passwords, then click the three-dot icon next to Saved Passwords. Next, right-click Export Passwords, then click Inspect.
2nd step: In the DevTools pane that appears on the right side of the screen, find the word titled “hidden”. It is located just above the item highlighted by default.
Step 3: Double-click “hidden” to select it.
Step 4: Press the Delete key to delete the selected word. Follow by pressing the Enter key. The result should look like the screenshot below.
Step 5: Move your focus from the DevTools pane to the Passwords screen. Click the three-dot icon next to Saved Passwords and you should see the import option listed in. You can then use it to import passwords from a CSV file.
You can exit the DevTools pane. But if you move away from the Passwords screen, you need to follow the above steps to display the Import option again.
We understand why Google hides the ability to import passwords via CSV by default – overwriting problem. And it is even more surprising to see the browser indicator which allows you to activate the functionality completely – and return – without warning. But as long as you go through the alternative methods listed above, you should have no problem activating the function.
Is it really a good idea to use Chrome’s built-in password manager in the first place? Click on the following link to find out.
Last updated March 7, 2020