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How to Import Thunderbird Contacts into Outlook

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How to Import Thunderbird Contacts into Outlook

Posted in : how to, howto on by : Tips Of Tech

This “How to” I will be using outlook 2010.
Some details in this import do not need to be said. Most of this you can handle with just looking at the pictures and seeing what is highlighted in the images to help you identify the links and buttons I am talking about.
Before any of this, you need to go to Thunderbird and export your contacts. Save the file as a .csv file (comma separated value), with a name you will remember and identify easily. I select to name the file “contacts” and saved the file to desktop so I can find it later.
Here are the steps for exporting Thunderbird contacts to a format that outlook can read

  1. Open Thunderbird, then go to Tools and then Address Book

  2. In the Address Book window, select Tools again and then Export…

  3. In the dropdown menu for Save as type…, choose Comma Separated

  4. Type in a file name (e.g. contacts or addresses), and then click Save.

Not so bad. was it?

Outlook_import_1 Step 1: is pretty easy. Click the image here and see what is highlighted.
On the left hand side of your screen click on the top left where you see “File”. Then Click “Open” just to the right of that and down. Then to the right a tad more and down click on “Import”.
On Outlook 2010 you will see two arrow pointing in opposite directs. Pretty easy to see.
If not, please look at the image I posted here, again.

Outlook_import_2 Step 2: A little window will pop open and have a few choices of your next step. For me and most likely for you the choice should be “import from another program or file”. Should be about midway in the list.
Now click “Next”.
What this means is that the CSV (Comma Separated Value) file you exported from Thunderbird is not a file that is directly out of the outlook “typical” file types. But Outlook will work with the file. You just have a couple steps to take to make outlook understand. These are coming up ahead.

Outlook_import_3 Step 3: Now is where you select “Comma Separated Value (CSV). Click that Should be Third down in the choices. Now click “Next”. Hopefully you save the contact exported csv file under name you can identify and in a location where you can find it. For me the file looks like an Excel file with a big letter X in the left corner and a large capitol A in the middle of it.
I keep thinking this is a Font installer. but it is not.
If you need to got to where you saved the file and open it. It should look just like an excel file with lots of names and email addresses inside of it.

Outlook_import_4 Step 4: is the one that is kind of multiple choice and sort of up to you. Do you want to allow duplicate contacts? because you could have more than one George Bush in your contacts.
If you are uncertain, may I recommend that you allow and then later go through your contacts and remove the duplicates that you feel are unnecessary?
But if you currently have no contacts in your Outlook, then go ahead and select not to allow duplicate contacts.
Seems like the safest bet that way.
Press “Next”

Outlook_import_5 Step 5:  is asking you where you want to import this information. Go ahead and select “contacts and press the “Next” button.
This will transfer a copy of the contacts in the CSV file you exported from Thunderbird, into something that outlook can read.
Almost as if you are uploading and translating the file from opensource format to proprietary format.


Outlook_import_6 Step 6: this one you have to slow your stroll.
Now you have to work.
It’s not hard work but you do have to work a bit here.
Select ” Map Custom Fields” on the right hand side of the small window. This is about to pop open a window , you just have to match things . Don’t freak out.
Click “Next”

Outlook_import_7 Step 7: You select the fields on the left one by one and match them with the fields on the right.
Choices that are on the left that are not on the right, you either have to improvise or do without.
Like First Name, you have to click the plus symbol (+) next to the word “Name” and when it opens to more choices, select “First Name”.
Do the same with last name. and phone number and email address. and another contact information you can think of that you actually use. If there are choices on the left that you never use,  then you don’t have to worry about the. If you are uncertain, open the file you backed up from Thunderbird and scroll through the columns and you will see what choices are used and what choices are not used and what information is in them. The columns are the same items as what’s in the left hand screen on the “map custom fields” window. The right hand side of that window is how windows sees contacts. You have to make them match. Wikipedia has an Equivalence chart to show you what each mean.

Click next and you are done with this. Your Thunderbird contacts have now been imported into Outlook .

The rest is pretty simple to do and something you can do repeatedly
Also if you are in an office environment, and want all of your employees to start off with the same contacts, may I suggest that you complete these steps with the first computer, then export the contacts in a microsoft format and save it to a portable media storage device of your choice and walk from desk to desk and set them each up?

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