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How to Import Contacts to Thunderbird from Excel?

Published By Nilesh Kumar
Debasish Pramanik
Approved By Debasish Pramanik
Published On March 4th, 2024
Reading Time 7 Minutes Reading
Category Excel File

Are you one of those Thunderbird users who has yet to find a solution to import contacts to Thunderbird from Excel? We here understand how frustrating it is to find that your favorite email client lacks any direct mechanism to add XLSX data to its address book. As you are here, it’s now time to put your search to rest. Go through this article, where you will find all the help you need.
It is important to know that multiple reasons together explain why this globally renowned mail-managing app has yet to add such a feature. First is the overall complexity of an Excel file and its proprietary nature. Unlike Thunderbird, Excel is not open source. Moreover, Microsoft has designed this spreadsheet tool to be more than just tabular storage. This helps out in other situations, like data analysis, but only poses a hurdle in our case. The highly complex structure allows another drawback. It’s quite easy to hide malicious macros inside innocent-looking Excel workbooks. So to prevent any trojan horse attempt via XLSX files, many apps outright forbid the addition of these files. Thunderbird is just another app that follows this industry standard.
So if you wish to update your existing Thunderbird contact list. Or even create a brand new one, where an Excel file is the primary source. You have two methods for achieving this. One is where you export the Excel data into CSV and then bring that CSV into Thunderbird. The second and better option is using vCard as the intermediary between Excel and Thunderbird address books.

Table of Contents

5 Easy Steps to Bring Excel Contacts in Thunderbird

  • Use the utility and change Excel data to vCard format.
  • Open Thunderbird >> Go to Adress Book >> Click Import.
  • Mark the vCard file option >> press Continue.
  • Browse for the vCard file you got from the utility >> hit Open.
  • Pick an import destination >> Continue >> Start Import >> Finish & view the result.

Expert Solution to Import Contacts to Thunderbird from Excel

There are multiple reasons why users want to transfer Excel contacts to Thunderbird. Thunderbird is the most useable email client used by many users due to its great features. If you have a large number of files Excel contacts in your Excel files, Thunderbird is the best choice it helps you to move your Excel files data to other platforms and it’s easy to access.

The below-mentioned solution is divided into 2 steps, where first we have to convert Excel files into vCard format. Because Thunderbird supports vCard files and then in the second step we have to import and convert vCard files into Thunderbird. Follow the below-mentioned steps one by one to convert Excel files quickly.

Free Demo Version: Try Excel to vCard Converter which offers a freeware version before purchasing the full software. You can check its features for free and be assured that you are investing in an accurate and trustworthy program.

Complete Guide to Import Contacts to Thunderbird from Excel

When users search for the solution to transfer Excel contacts to Thunderbird manually. There is bad news for you, no manual solution is available to import Excel contacts. No need to worry! We are here to help you out with this query, Best Expert Solution to convert Excel contacts to vCard format with all information.

Step 1:  Convert Excel Files to vCard Format 

First, Users Need to Convert Excel File to vCard, Then import vCard contacts to Thunderbird account.

  • Download the Software, install and run it on your system.

Browse Excel file

  • Click the Open button to select your Excel contacts file.

Click on Open

  • Now the software will show a preview of all the contacts saved in the Excel file.

Preview all Excel files

  • In the Map Columns section, first select Excel Fields.

select Excel Fields

  • Then select the vCard field. After mapping, click the Add button.

Mapping Excel fields

  • In the Export section, choose the desired option and select vCard version 2.1, 3.0, or 4.0

Select vCard version

  • Finally, click the “Convert” button and the software will immediately start converting Excel contacts to vCard file format.

Click on convert button

  • You have now created a vCard file that will help you import your contacts from Excel into your Thunderbird application.

Step 2: Import Resultant File to Thunderbird 

Now, after converting the process of Excel XLS files to vCard format, You can easily import vCard files into Thunderbird. Follow the below-given steps to complete the conversion process of Excel contacts to Thunderbird.

  • To start the process, open the Thunderbird application on your local machine
  • Then click the Address Book tab and click Import Tool
  • The Import Wizard will now appear in front of you. Now select the Address Book option under the Select the type of materials to import option. Then click the Next button
  • Next, to import your contacts from Excel to Thunderbird, you must select the vCard (.vcf) file option
  • Then select the vCard file created in step 1
  • Finally, click the Open button to upload. Click the OK button to successfully complete the process
  • Here in the Thunderbird Address Book, you can see if the process of importing your Excel contacts into Thunderbird was successful.

During the import, you might see the CSV option and wonder why not use this instead of VCF. To get an answer check out the next section.

Why Go for vCard over CSV as the Contact Delivery Format in Thunderbird

Although Excel can directly export an XLSX document in CSV format, the issue lies in the encoding you receive. Depending on the Excel version, you might get CSV files that are not acceptable as the standard encoding. So importing such a CSV file creates a major risk of data loss or mismatch.
Whereas vCard has 3 distinct versions: 2.1, 3.0, and 4.0, each of which is better than the last. This, combined with no encoding issues, gives the vCard format an edge over its contemporary.
CSV is primarily a text file with a more general purpose usage. This means that even though it can be used to store contacts, it was not designed for this task. On the other hand, VCF is a purpose-built solution for the sole task of keeping contact files. Thus, it is easier for programs like Thunderbird to extract information and fill an Address book with vCard data.

Author Suggestion 

In this technical write-up, we talk about the best and most quick available solution to import contacts to Thunderbird from Excel. There is no direct manual solution available to complete this conversion process, but we provide you with the best possible solution. So, you can trust this process for Excel file to Thunderbird contact conversion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I want to upload an email contact list from Excel in the Thunderbird address book how to do that?
Ans. If your data only consists of emails we suggest that you use the Mailing list feature of Thunderbird. Follow these instructions.

  • Launch Excel select the email column and press Ctrl(Command for Mac) + C.
  • Open Thunderbird and go to Address Book
  • Press the New List button.
  • Choose the Address Book.
  • Put a name for the Mailing List.
  • Press Ctrl(Command for Mac) + V in the space below “Type email addresses to add them to the mailing list:” to paste the Excel email column.
  • Hit OK.

Q. Is there a chance of data loss if I try to add an Excel file to Thunderbird on my own via CSV?
Ans. When you use CSV format as the bridge then you automatically increase the chances of data loss. As during CSV conversion Excel might automatically group multiple phone numbers into a single field. This requires additional manual intervention and thus more chances where oversight occurs resulting in a faulty import job.

Q. Do I need to make any changes in my Excel sheet before adding it to the utility?
Ans. If your Excel file already has an appropriate heading for each column then no other change is required. The tool can load the data from even password-protected files and change them into VCF format.


By Nilesh Kumar

As a Chief Technical Writer, I know the technical issues faced by home and professional users. So, I decided to share all my knowledge via this blog. I love to help you with challenges while dealing with technical jargon.