fixed : import contacts database from Excel into AddressBook

A common question of Windows-to-Mac-switchers is “How can I import my contacts from Excel into my Mac ?”.

Here’s the way to import a contacts database from Excel (Mac or Windows) into Apple AddressBook :

  1. open the contacts database in Excel (on Mac or Windows)
  2. save the contacts database under a new name (e.g. “addresses-export.xls”), to make sure you will have a emergency-backup
  3. rearrange the data in the (copy of the) contacts database in such a way that the upper row will only contain column headers, and every next line will only contain the data of one contact (with all data in the correct column)
  4. for street addresses you will need 4 (or 5) separate columns : “street name (including home number)”, “postal code”, “town”(, “province”) and “country” ; if you want to include both a home and a work address, you should make that 2x 4 = 8 columns
  5. make sure to use separate columns to match the different data groups you have, so make separate columns for “home phone”, “work phone”, “mobile phone”, “home fax”, “work fax”, etc.
  6. if you have completely rearranged the data to suit this layout, go to “Save As”
  7. choose the option “Format : Comma Separated Values (.csv)”, choose an easily accessible location to save the file (e.g. on your Desktop) and click “Save”
  8. quit Excel
  9. open Apple AddressBook
  10. click on the ‘button with the plus sign’ in the lower left corner to create a new group and choose a proper group name for the addresses you are about to import (e.g. “Excel import January 1st”)
  11. then, in the upper menu bar under “File”, choose “import”
  12. select “”addresses-export.csv” (or whatever you’ve clued your database file) from the Desktop (or other location where you’ve saved it) and click “Open”
  13. you will now get a “Text File Import” window, in which you have to indicate what the  right name of each ‘column’ should become in Apple AddressBook
  14. for addresses you will have do this in a way that might not be obvious : first select “Address (home)” or “Address (work)” next to the “Address”-heading from your Excel-file, after that an the list will automatically extend to include “PostalCode”, “City” and “Country” (note that this will leave an extra “PostalCode” and “City” just below, that you have to change to the “Do not import” label.
  15. If you’re done setting this up, double-check it again (if you don’t set this up properly and faultless, the outcome will not be acceptable, and you will have to redo the complete import-procedure)
  16. make sure that the little checkbox is checked next to “Ignore first card” and click “OK”
  17. if you will now look in the “Last Import” group (the green group) you will see all imported data
  18. now, just to be sure : double-check some data to make sure everything has been imported the way you want it
  19. then select only one contact from the “Last Import” group and press the CMD+A (“Select All”) to select all contacts and then drag the entire selection onto the group that you’ve previously created, named “Excel import January 1st” or what you’ve called it
  20. Note : the “Last Import” group is only a temporary group, so to make sure you will be able to easily find your Excel-imported contacts as a group in the future, the group “Excel import January 1st” has been created ; if you decide at any time that there’s no need anymore to be able to access these Excel-imported contacts as a separate group, you can easily delete the group name “Excel import January 1st”, without deleting the contacts themselves from AddressBook

…after following this step-by-step instruction, you will have all your Excel-contacts in AddressBook also !


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