How to get groups out of Outlook Express on Windows?
October 22, 2005 4:22 PM   Subscribe

OK - I just bought an iMac to replace our dying Windows machine at home. I've successfully moved over almost everything - email (thanks to emailchemy), bookmarks, contacts, calendar items, documents. But I'm stuck on one thing - how can I reproduce the groups of contacts from our old windows outlook express address in the OS X address book? I would rather not have to recreate them one address at a time if I can avoid it. Thanks!
posted by sfz to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
If you can export/save-as from OE to vCard format, OS X Address Book can certainly import from that format. A vCard can have multiple contacts in one file, try to Select All -> Export or similar.
posted by kcm at 4:29 PM on October 22, 2005

Export the addresses from Outlook Express for Windows to a text file in CSV format:
  1. Launch Outlook Express on the PC.
  2. From the File menu, click Export, and then click Address Book.
  3. Click Text File (Comma Separated Values), and then click Export.
  4. Click Browse.
  5. Locate an appropriate folder to which to save the file.
  6. In the File Name box, type "addresses", and then click Save.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Click to select the check boxes for the fields that you want to export, and then click Finish.
  9. Click OK and then click Close.
Transfer the file from the PC to the Mac.

Import the file into the Mac OS X address book:
  1. Launch Address Book on the Mac.
  2. From the File menu choose Import.
  3. Choose the format of the exported file from the submenu. In this case choose "Text file," which is appropriate for either a tab-delimited or CSV file.
  4. Select the file that contains the exported addresses.
  5. Use the pop-up menus in the Text File Import dialog that appears to specify how to import the data. If I recall correctly, the first line in the file contains labels, so check the "Ignore first card" checkbox.
  6. Use the left and right arrows to see different records in the file you're importing. This helps you determine how to set the pop-up menus. If you don't want to import a field, set the pop-up menu to "Do not import."
  7. To set the pop-up menus for address fields, choose the type of address (home, work, or other) in the pop-up menu next to the first item of the address. Then use the address pop-up menus that appear to choose the corresponding data for each address field.

posted by RichardP at 4:36 PM on October 22, 2005

Response by poster: I'll check again on the vCard export, but that's what I exported the first time and didn't notice any groups making their way over.

RichardP, thanks for the step by step on getting the individual addresses out - i've already gotten that far, but it's the groups I was having trouble with.
posted by sfz at 4:44 PM on October 22, 2005

Response by poster: no dice on the vcard for a group; when I select the group and hit export it exports a vCard for the first contact in the address book, not for the group selected.
posted by sfz at 4:53 PM on October 22, 2005

Best answer: I'm too lazy to setup an email account as I don't use mail; Can you send the vcard to yourself via an email?
posted by AllesKlar at 5:00 PM on October 22, 2005

Response by poster: there is no vCard. There are only groups.
posted by sfz at 5:04 PM on October 22, 2005

Sorry, sfz, when you mentioned "reproduce the groups of contacts" I thought you were trying to copy over the addresses in groups, not the group association itself.

While Apple's Address Book application supports importing and exporting of Groups in the vCard format (via the vCard CATEGORIES field) as well as the inspection, creation and assignment of Groups using AppleScript, I don't know of any way to extract the corresponding group assignment information from Outlook Express for Windows.
posted by RichardP at 5:07 PM on October 22, 2005

Response by poster: OK - I'll look to see if there's any way to massage the vCard export to include categories information...
posted by sfz at 5:18 PM on October 22, 2005

From experimentation, I don't think you're going to get OS X's Address Book to preserve your groups. What I did:

1) Download Thunderbird 1.5b1 to Windows. Let it import your OE contacts.
2) Open the Thunderbird Address Book and export the contacts as LDIF.
3) If you open the LDIF file you can clearly see that the group relationship is saved at the end.
4) Go to OS X and try to import the LDIF file.
5) For me, OS X Address Book completely ignored the group information. On the plus side, Thunderbird works (but I wouldn't use 1.5 seriously until it exits beta).
posted by sbutler at 5:48 PM on October 22, 2005

Give Dawn a try
posted by Sharcho at 5:54 PM on October 22, 2005

Response by poster: duh. I went to the Outlook Express, sent one email to myself for each of the groups needed, attached the vCards for the appropriate group to each email. Then I went to the mac, opened the emails, made a new address book group for each one and dragged the attachments into the group. Address book asked if I wanted to update the dupes, I said yes. 10 minutes later, all the groups are in the address book. Thanks everyone.
posted by sfz at 6:50 PM on October 22, 2005

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