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Import Outlook Express data into Address Book Apps
The other day I was trying to help a relative make the switch from OS 9 to OS X (he hadn't been using OS X too much), and he wanted his e-mail set up in and his addresses in Address Book. I got the e-mails over fine, but the addresses were giving me trouble.

Outlook Express for OS 9 seems to export contacts in a non-standard format (go figure). It looked like it was LDIF format, but I don't think it was because Address Book was refusing to import it. I was trying to find programs that would do the import, but then I found an easier way:
  1. First use Outlook Express to export the whole address book.

  2. Go into the Netscape Communicator 4.7x folder (this is, by default, installed with OS 9), open up the "Import" folder, and use the Import application to "import" the Outlook Express address book and immediately spit it back out as a standard LDIF file.

  3. Go into Address Book and import the converted address book file.
I'm not sure if Entourage has the same problem or not, but I thought this would be useful to those people who use Outlook Express in OS 9.
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Apple Provided Script
Authored by: saint.duo on Jan 09, '03 11:19:46AM
There is a script called "Import Addresses.scpt" at
/Library/Scripts/Mail Scripts/
that imports addresses from various applications, including Outlook Express. I'm not exactly sure when Apple started including this, but I believe it was 10.2.

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Apple Provided Script
Authored by: mchonig on May 11, '06 04:14:30AM

The apple script can work, but if you do use it doublecheck everything. I tried it under 10.4.6 and got a large number of bugs and freezes, where it imports some cards but certainly not all. The aforementioned technique is the best I've found. Thanks, you're a genius! Oh, PS: You need to choose the option "Import tab delimited".

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Import Outlook Express data into Address Book
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Jan 09, '08 05:50:51PM

I've had some success using Apple's "Import Addresses.scpt" at /Library/Scripts/Mail Scripts, to import contacts directly from Outlook Express 5, but that was under OS 10.3.x, or some early version of OS 10.4.x--under OS 10.4.11 (and some people see these problems under OS 10.4.3 on up), I'm seeing the same problems with "Import Addresses.scpt" that mchonig describes--too many Applescript errors, which halt the import process, even when the contacts being imported from don't have any problems. I've seen these Applescript errors:


I spent hours trying to figure out a fix, including various Applescript solutions some people have posted, including turning on, in the Universal Access prefpane, "Enable access for assistive devices"--I have no idea why this would help, but it didn't help me.

Then I tried the method that didn't work very well, if at all, in the early days of Address Book--having it import from a tab-delimited contacts file that I had exported from Outlook Express. Amazingly, it worked, importing everything almost immediately, instead of the sometimes hours-long wait that using Apple's "Import Addresses.scpt" often takes. It seems that Apple has improved, a lot, Address Book's ability to import from a tab-delimited contacts file.

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