Address Book 6.x: Import contacts

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Import contacts in Address Book

Address Book can import contact information that you save or export from other applications in vCard, LDAP Interchange Format (LDIF), tab-delimited, and comma-separated value (CSV) formats.

You can export addresses in vCard format from Entourage, Outlook, and others, and in LDIF format from Thunderbird, for example. You can export text files in tab-delimited or CSV format from spreadsheet applications, such as Numbers.

  1. Export addresses from another application in a supported format.
    • Before exporting tab-delimited or CSV files, you may want to note the order of the information fields, especially if the file doesn’t contain labels. Your notes may help you manually identify fields in a later step.

    • If the application you’re exporting from supports it, export vCards that include multiple contacts to speed up importing. For example, in Outlook select all of your contacts and choose to forward them in an email message as vCards. Send the message, which includes a vCard attachment for each selected contact, to yourself on your Mac computer. In Mail, save the vCard attachments, and then use Address Book to import them.

  2. Verify the exported tab-delimited or CSV file using a text editor such as TextEdit.
    • Make sure there are no line breaks within a contact’s information, which can cause the import to fail. Remove any line breaks you find.

    • Make sure that fields in a tab-delimited file are separated by a tab, and fields in a CSV file are separated by a comma, instead of by quotation marks or another character. Do not include spaces before or after tabs and commas.

    • Make sure all addresses have the same number of fields; add empty fields as needed.

  3. In Address Book, choose File > Import, select the file you want to import, change the encoding if necessary, and then click Open.
  4. If you’re importing a text file, review the field labels Address Book will use for the information. You can change field labels, or choose to ignore or not import fields.
    • If the first card contains headers, review the headers to make sure they are correctly labeled or marked as “Do not import,” and make changes as necessary. Any changes you make to this card are made in all of the cards in the file. To exclude the headers card from being imported, select the “Ignore first card” checkbox.

    • Use the arrows to browse information in the file to determine if fields need to be relabeled or not imported.

    • To change a label, click the arrows next to the label and choose a new label from the pop-up menu. If you don’t want to import a field, choose “Do not import.”

If a card contains custom fields, the information in those fields is not imported.

When you import contacts into an Exchange account, information in Exchange fields that aren’t supported in Address Book are added to the Notes field on the contact’s card.

To see the most-recently imported contacts, display groups and then select the Last Import group. This group is updated each time you import contacts. Use the View menu to show or hide the Last Import group.

Published Date: Nov 6, 2013
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