Import Address Book

Importing an Address Book

As a complete and utter novice to Linux one of the first things I found I needed was a working Address Book. My first attempt to import one was a total disaster, leaving field names and data all over the place.

Accordingly, this article explains, I hope, how to import into a Linux operated computer a backed up version of windows address book stored as a Comma separated values (csv) file on a flash memory stick.

The Address Book on my computer is to be found in my Thunderbird email program and it is to Thunderbird pages that I shall be referring throughout.

With Thunderbird open and the memory stick inserted into a USB port, left click on “Address Book” in the Tool bar and when opened select “Tools” and then select “Import” from the drop down menu that appears. In the window that appears, Fig. 1,


select Address Books and then click “next”. In the next window, Fig. 2,

Fig.2 Fig.2

you are asked to select the program from which you wish to import. Highlight “Text File” and click “next”.

The window “Select address book file” then opens, Fig.3.

Fig.3 Fig.3

In the bottom right hand corner of Fig.3 you will find a box displaying “LDIF”. Click on the little arrow at the side of that box and select “Comma separated”. Then select the address book file you wish to import and select “Open” and “Open” again.

You will now have an “Import Address Book” window Fig. 4.


At the top left of this window leave blank “First record contains field names”. The window also contains two columns of field names and it is here that the process becomes a little confusing sometimes as you try to match the columns. Once a match has been made put a tick in the box to the far left and move on to the next field match. Please remember the right hand set of data remains fixed and the left hand set is movable up and down individually until you have your match.

For the purpose of this explanation I assume no matches occur when the window is opened. Furthermore, remove any ticks that may be found down the left hand side.

First note the first field at the top of the right hand column in FIG. 4. Now go to the left hand column, find the corresponding field and highlight it. With this data highlighted go to the far right hand side of the window and click the “Move Up” button. As shown in FIG. 4 the field “First Name” in the left hand field column should be moved up until it corresponds to “First name” at the top of the right hand field column. Then put a tick in the corresponding box at the far left and move on to note the next field down in the right hand field column. Repeat the process just described. If at any time you overshoot your match then use the “Move Down” button.

It is important, to complete this task simply and in a reasonable time, to start at the top of the right hand field column and work your way down the fields one by one.

Finally,when you are ready, click “OK” in FIG. 4, "Finish" in the next page and all your data will be transformed into a very nicely presented Address Book.

Note: There is not always a direct correspondence in title between the left and right data fields. However, if you look at Fig.4 you will see how I finally set up my address book and it works very well, everything falling nicely into place in my address book display.