How to Import the Mac Address Book into Thunderbird

Step 1. Export your Address Book.  To do this, use the Address Book Exporter application. You can download it for free from
When you run this application, choose Export using template: Yahoo

Step 2. Import the saved file into Thunderbird.  In Thunderbird,
Select the Tools>Import… menu item:

  • Choose Address Books and click Next
  • Choose Text file and click Next
  • Select the file you exported and click Open
  • Check the First record contains field names box

At this point, you encounter the bizarre tool for matching Address Book terminology with Thunderbird terminology.  I think — though I’m not sure — that the trick is to start with the last “Address Book field” that you care about and move it into position, then move the next-to-last field, and so on.

In any event, you want to match up the following terms (and place check marks next to them):

  • First Name: First
  • Last Name: Last
  • Nickname: Nickname
  • Primary Email: Email
  • Secondary Email: Alternate Email 1

Click OK and you will have succeeded in importing your Mac Address Book.

Step 3. The final step is to set your View options so that you can properly see what you have imported.

  • Select the Window>Address Book menu item.
  • In the Address Books column on the left side of the window, click the name of the Address Book that you just imported.
  • Select the View>Show Name As>Last, First menu item (What’s really important here is that you DON’T USE the View>Show Name As>Display Name option)
  • From the View>Sort By> menu, choose Name and Ascending
  • Finally, notice that there is a small icon at the top of the scroll bar on the right side of the window. It is used to choose which columns you want to display.  Click the icon and choose Name, Nickname, Email, Additional Email

2 Responses to “How to Import the Mac Address Book into Thunderbird”

  1. 1 Doug 3 Dec 09 at 12:49 am

    Thanks for the tip on the exporter. I now have the addresses in my mac. But how do I set it up to have Thunderbird predict the sender in the sender field?

  2. 2 david mellon 15 Dec 09 at 12:11 pm

    I was good up until I got to “Select the file you exported and click Open” Address Book Exporter is grayed and unclickable as is the Thunderbird file. What am I doing wrong? thanks, david

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