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Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book Apps
I recently had to import an export of my contacts from Outlook on a PC in comma-separated values (CSV) format into Address Book. After looking around for converter/importer programs and finding none (at least, none that I could get to work!), I cobbled together the following from various hints and advice. I offer it here for anyone trying to bring data across from Wintel to Mac. There are undoubtedly other ways solutions, but this way doesn't involve writing or modifying any code.

You will need Mozilla and Excel (or some other spreadsheet program that can open and save in CSV format). An overview is as follows:
  1. Get Mozilla or Netscape (not Firefox; you need the Mozilla suite).
  2. Using Mozilla's Address Book, create a dummy record and export as text file.
  3. Open said export in Excel and match the column order of your CSV file to that of the export.
  4. Import your rearranged CSV file into Mozilla address book.
  5. Export the just imported addresses as an LDIF file.
  6. Import the LDIF file to Address Book.
Read on for a detailed walkthrough...

  1. Get Mozilla/Netscape:
    Download from I used Mozilla 1.7.11.

  2. Mozilla Address Book:
    Go to Mozilla's Address Book (in the Window menu item or Command-5). It will be empty. Create a new record card and place something in each of the fields. I found it helpful to replicate each field name in the field itself -- i.e. in the "Email:" field, enter "," "Workphone" in the work phone number field, etc. This helps later when you have to get the columns in your CSV file in the right order.

  3. Export CSV file from Mozilla Address Book:
    In the Tools menu item, there is an Export command. Export the Address Book with your dummy record as a CSV file (so you can open it in Excel).

  4. Rearrange your original CSV file:
    Open both the exported Mozilla Address Book file and your Contacts CSV file with your contacts in Excel (it would be advisable to use a copy of your Contacts CSV file, in case something goes wrong!). This part is a bit labourious, but you simply get your Contacts CSV file in the same column order as the Mozilla Address Book file with the dummy record. You can manually cut-and-paste the columns, or use Excel functions to move the data across into the correct column order.

    A better way to do this is to insert into your Contacts CSV file as many columns as there are fields in the exported Mozilla Address Book file to the left of your Contact data, and then use functions to copy information from the original columns to the newly inserted columns. These new columns can then be pasted into a blank Excel file and saved.

    Some of the fields won't match exactly - for example, Mozilla only has two "Street" fields for an address, whereas Outlook has three. In this case, you can use the concatenate function to combine the second and third "Street" fields in the rearranged column order. For example, =if(Street3Cell = "", Street2Cell, Street2Cell & " " & Street3Cell). Unfortunately, you will need to check this yourself.

    I also found it good to use an "if" function to avoid copying a "0" value into a column that is blank in the original file. For example, you can input =if(Cell1 = "","",Cell1), which will copy the value if it isn't empty.

  5. Import your rearranged CSV file into Mozilla address book:
    Save the rearranged Contacts CSV file as a new CSV-format file. Go back to Mozilla's Address Book and import the file (in the wizard, import "Address Books" as a text file).

  6. Export the just imported addresses as an LDIF file:
    Select the newly imported address book and export it from Mozilla, this time as an LDIF file.

  7. Import the LDIF file to Address Book:
    Go to OS X's Address Book and import the LDIF file (File: Import) and you are done.
Hope this is helpful.
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Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book | 14 comments | Create New Account
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Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: Mike A on Sep 02, '05 10:16:56AM

I thought Address Book in 10.4 could import CSV files anyway?

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Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: lennyx on Sep 02, '05 07:33:27PM
I had also problems with Mail dropping some fields from a outlook csv file during an export. This is why I am using csv2vcard ( to convert csv files before importing to mail into vcard files. I found that Mail imports vcard files without dropping any information. Lenny

[ Reply to This | # ]
Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: bkuestner on Sep 04, '05 08:27:39AM

On paper, yes, Tiger's Addressbook can directly import from csv or tab-separated text files. But there are so many bugs in there, I never got it to work in a good enough manner.

I filed a bug with Apple that has just one line, no special characters, but it still won't import for whatever reason.

It's not the line endings either, as I read that another user could narrow his problem down to having the wrong Mac/Unix/Windows style line endings.

It's another one of the many Tiger promises that Apple didn't keep. Very Microsoftish, unfortunately. I'm still on Tiger though, because other things are a clear improvement over Panther.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: appalbarry on Apr 08, '06 07:53:15PM

My experience tonight says that Address Book will not import a CSV generated by Outlook. In general I am amazed how difficult it is to get addresses into this application.

I wound up following the instructions above to hammer the data into a form of LDIF that Address Book would accept. Without Excel and Thunderbird as intermediate tools it would have been impossible

Bad, very bad. Why or why doesn't Address Book just import from the Outlook PST file?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: bichita on Mar 12, '08 10:17:15AM
I made the mistake of syncing my address book with Bento. There was no easy way to edit the contacts, so I exported them all into a CSV file. Much to my dismay, Address Book wouldn't read the CSV file and Bento couldn't handle taking all that data back in (it froze up every time I tried more than 200 contacts at once).

BUT! I just found this amazing FREE tool that took care of everything. OMG, Steve Roy, where have you been all my miserable workweek life!?! Address Book Importer matches up all the fields in your CSV file and syncs up with Address Book.... thus restoring clarity and order to my jumbled contacts list. And did I mention it was ridiculously fast!! (2500 contacts with 37 fields in less than a minute)

Ooooh, I know I sound like a commercial but this has been plaguing me for a week and I just had to share.

Check out

Seriously, I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this super easy-to-use program that put my headache at ease. (I even emailed the creator to thank him.)

[ Reply to This | # ]
Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: MichelP on Sep 02, '05 10:53:13AM

Actually there is a simpler path, if you can still use the PC
1) Install Mozilla on the PC
2) Have it import Outlook's original Contact in PST format (or CSV)
3) Have then Mozilla export its new addressbook in LDIF format
4) Feed Mac Addressbook with this LDIF file

- This is a derivative tip, to a more general method to transfer complete Outlook mailboxes (not in LDIF, but to get to mbox) --although I prefer doing it through IMAP server
- if you have Entourage 2004, MS recently provided a tool to convert PC PST files to Entourage 2004 format. Once in Entourage, migrating to Addressbook should be pretty easy.

Good luck.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: srparker on Sep 02, '05 01:04:51PM

I don't work there, but Outlook2Mac from Little Machines ( does a FANTASTIC job of helping you move things from Outlook to Mac mail. It can extract all the fields for contacts, calendar events, todo's, and even mail itself. I tried the .csv route and after becoming frustrated found this little gem.

Cost me all of $10, and I know I spent more of that in Tylenol trying to get the CSV thing to work right... :)

I highly recommend this utility.

And, if you keep updating Outlook files, you can run it again, and Apple Address Book is smart enough to MERGE the changes from the next run with existing entries.

<dream mode>
Now if they just made the sync "bi-directional..."
</dream mode>



[ Reply to This | # ]
Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: mhuehne on Sep 02, '05 07:18:51PM

Rem - Here is some basic code to fix your problem.
Rem - vcards can be easily imported into addressbook
Rem - The guy who actually wrote this code saved my a** ...
Rem - Our corporate IS guys won't let me install any tested SW.

Rem - ============= Begin Actual Code ================
Rem - Open Microsoft Outlook and make sure C:\TEMP\Contacts exists
Rem - To access the Visual Basic Development environment, press Alt+F11.
Rem - This action opens the VBA editor.
Rem - Choose, Insert, Module from the menu. Then add the following code:
Rem - Press F5 to run the script, which places a list of all your contacts
Rem - in vCard format, in the Contacts folder C:\TEMP\Contacts
Rem - Then drag these vCards into your Address Book application
Rem - et voila, your contacts are transferred.

Const XPortPath As String = "C:\TEMP\Contacts\" 'target location

Const ext As String = ".vcf" 'file extension

Sub ExportToVCard()

Dim ns As NameSpace

Dim fld As MAPIFolder

Dim itm

Dim itms As Items

Set ns = Application.GetNamespace("MAPI")

Set fld = ns.GetDefaultFolder(olFolderContacts) 'Outlook Contacts folder

Set itms = fld.Items

itms.Sort "[LastName]", False

' The following code is the loop that builds your code

For Each itm In itms

If TypeName(itm) = "ContactItem" Then

itm.SaveAs XPortPath & itm.LastNameAndFirstName & ext, olVCard

End If

Next itm

End Sub

Rem - ============== End Actual Code =============
Rem - Cheers, Michael

Microsoft! What part of "NO" don't you understand?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: David on Sep 02, '05 10:48:37PM
It is a whole lot simpler to turn your addresses into vCards.

Apple has an article here which pretty much says drag your contacts out of the Windows address book into a folder (which creates the vCards) and then import them on your Mac.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: timcrawf on Sep 03, '05 11:50:21AM

One more way to transfer contact information.
Use Palm Desktop. It can read man formats, including csv and a drag and drag export gives you vcards.
On import into Palm desktop there is a dialog box that you can use to map data to the appropriate fields.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: dendrite on Sep 05, '05 06:16:58PM

Wow installing a massive new application for this simple task? Ugh. Frustrating.

An even better solution would have been to post the example CSV file saving a lot of other users some trouble.
There's no reason everyone has to do steps 1 thru 3, is there?

(If I decide to try this route I'll post the link to my example CSV file.)

[ Reply to This | # ]
Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: lekitikon on Sep 22, '05 04:21:11AM

I had the same problem and after a few searches I found this freeware

Tried and works with Contacts from Outlook to LDIF (Address Book).


[ Reply to This | # ]
Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: TinyApps.Org on Apr 08, '10 04:17:55AM

Though this thread is almost five years old, astoundingly even Snow Leopard's Address Book chokes on CSV files. I had a simple CSV file consisting of 150 contacts that would crash Address Book during import (tested on two different Macs). Tried changing line endings, removing potentially troublesome fields, etc. to no avail.

Finally, I stumbled onto Steve Roy's Abee:

It imported the same CSV file into Address Book flawlessly. Abee is free for a single use, $10 for unlimited use.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Import an Outlook CSV file to Address Book
Authored by: xjudson on Jul 02, '10 07:33:12AM

An easier fix for this is to turn all your contacts into a distribution list then follow these instructions:

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