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Help importing csv to address book

11590 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Sep 6, 2013 6:03 AM by Klaus1 RSS
ApplesAndAudis Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Feb 12, 2011 8:37 PM
I purchased my wife an iphone today. I'm trying to help her get all her contacts into her new phone. She has kept all her contacts on web mail. None of those contacts had phone numbers. So I exported from web mail, all her contacts into a .csv file. She then opened it, and added all the phone numbers from her old cell phone. She didn't change the format of the excel sheet other than a few deleted rows and a few widened columns. So now I can not get the Mac Address Book to import the CSV file. I've saved and tried to import it in 3 different types of csv files that Excel will do. It won't even let me import the original csv file before she made any changes. Suggestions???
MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • William Boyd, Jr. Level 6 Level 6 (10,475 points)
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    Feb 14, 2011 1:26 PM (in response to ApplesAndAudis)
    ApplesAndAudis wrote:
    I exported from web mail, all her contacts into a .csv file.

    Were there any other options, such as "vCard"? That might work better. If you can export to "vCard", then double-click it, Address Book should open and offer to import those entries. Unfortunately, that will result in the loss of the editing you've done to the ".csv" file.

    This may not work, but you might also do a control-click on the ".csv" file, then choose "Open with...", then "Other" (presuming that Address Book isn't one of the choices), then navigate to Address Book and choose it.
    MacBook 5,2 2.0 GHz, 4GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • Barney-15E Level 7 Level 7 (33,420 points)
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    Feb 14, 2011 4:04 PM (in response to ApplesAndAudis)
    You really need to pour through the spreadsheet and look for any odd data fields. Anything that Address doesn't expect will kill the import.

    If you don't see anything, you might try breaking the spreadsheet into parts and try the separate parts. That may help isolate where the issue is.
    1.8 SP G5/MBP 2.33/iPhone/MBP Unibody, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • No Alibi Level 2 Level 2 (410 points)
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    Feb 14, 2011 6:09 PM (in response to ApplesAndAudis)
    Just in case any information in this link might be of use to you in working with the .csv file:

    Importing contacts into Address Book
    Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • KrisLK Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 1, 2011 8:37 AM (in response to ApplesAndAudis)
    ApplesAndAudis, as Barney-15E pointed out, oddities will kill the import. The issue that prevented me from importing the CSV file was that the spreadsheet included commas and hidden returns. In all hopes, that is what is killing your import.

    Questions similar to yours have been asked before on this forum, and I replied to one with the below instructions. (I'm using Numbers, but I think everything I mention can be done in Excel.)

    ((Begin copied text))

    Deleting Commas>
    The problem with commas in your spreadsheet is that the CSV format uses commas to distinguish when a new cell is formed. So having other commas will inevitably confuse Address Book during the attempted import. I didn't have too many commas in my spreadsheet, so I was able to quickly remove them. Yet, if you have dozens or hundreds of cells with commas in them, you'll need an easier solution. I imagine opening Number's Inspector>Cell Inspector>Format will have the solution of removing commas from, say, currency amounts or something else. Yet, how many commas arise in contact information? Perhaps the easiest way is to use the same method of removing those hidden RETURNs. Read on...

    Deleting Hidden RETURNs>
    You can't see them, and I couldn't find a "show invisibles" option in Numbers. So you need to search and find them. Yet, how do you search for something hidden? Do the Command-F thing to bring up the search field. The search bar should automatically be ready to search what you type. Hitting the Return key will do nothing for you, but hitting Shift-Option-Return will (you'll likely need to hit Return again to actually perform the search). Numbers will point out how many times these hidden returns are in your spreadsheet, which cells contain them, and give you the option to automatically replace them with something else (a space is a safe option). You can do the same search and replace with commas too.

    ((End copied text))

    Here is the link to my full reply:

    I hope it works for you!
  • Geniecommands Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 12, 2011 4:53 PM (in response to ApplesAndAudis)
    I think the problem with simple import these days is the extended use of XML which in my case required a label next to the imported field before Address book would import. To Developers can you please add an import type that will find wild characters except comma and tab and excluded them also it would be helpful if addressbook could import without the need to transpose.

    Had a customer ask me to import all the CC addresses from an email into Addressbook and this is what I had to do.

    1. Saved the email to desktop opened with Textedit and copied addresses.
    2. Opened Excel and selected under edit Paste Special, then in this dialog box ticked Transposed
    The End result should be the address flow downwards
    3. Now we need to clean the data select find Command+F and click the replace button
    Search for < and replace with NUL (nothing not even a space) also do this with > and with a
    space (press once on keyboard) and click the Replace All button each time it will tell you how many it replaced
    4. Click on the top of the "A" column it should highlight the whole thing then goto pull down menu Insert->Cells
    5. In box A1 Type "Email (Work)", copy this and highlight with shift all the A cells down and paste to the last email address
    6. Save as Excel .CSV file
    7. Make a new group in Addressbook and highlight before importing
    G5, MacMini, MacBook and Appte Tv, Mac OS X (10.6.6), Everything and anything Mac
  • PDXScully Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2011 2:38 AM (in response to ApplesAndAudis)
    I added two contacts to my iphone 4 last night and tonight synced my phone to my MAC. The new contacts did not go into my Address Book. I searched through the message boards and did not find an answer why. The contacts that I added on my phone had phone numbers only, not email addresses. So, I put a dummy aol email address in one of these, on my phone, and re-synced. Guess what? That contact transferred to my Address Book - but the phone number did not. I was able to add the number manually on my computer but am not sure why this happened.
    MACbook Pro, iPhone ios4
  • Bladibla3 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 6, 2013 4:32 AM (in response to No Alibi)

    Hi there,


    The link above no longer works. Do you have an updated one?

    I'm having a **** of a time importing csv email adresses as Mac contacts for a friend.




  • Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (43,425 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 6, 2013 6:03 AM (in response to Bladibla3)

    Your problem may not be exactly the same as that of the original poster of this very old thread, and it can be very confusing for everybody if we try to answer more than one question in each thread.


    In order for us to give your problem our undivided attention to try to solve it, would you kindly start your own thread, describing the trouble you are having in the fullest detail, including completing your details to show what Mac you are using, what operating system, and what version of the application in question. Please remember to post in the forum relevant to your hardware or version of OS X.


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