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Old 29 Jul 2018, 06:19 AM   #1
artmanphoto
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Importing Email Addresses Into Thunderbird

I am using the current version of Thunderbird on a Windows 10 PC and a MacBook Pro. I want to create an email broadcast list with about 100 email addresses for our Homes Association.

Instead of me manually typing each address into Thunderbird is there a way to import the addresses into Thunderbird from Microsoft Access (database) or Microsoft Excel (spreadsheet)?

Thanks! Bill
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Old 29 Jul 2018, 10:25 PM   #2
n5bb
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Yes, you can do this. Export the data in either LDIF format or CSV format with comma separators. Itís easier if you rearrange the order of the CSV data fields to match the Thunderbird default order and place the CSV field names in the first row. More details here:
https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1154012

Bill
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Old 30 Jul 2018, 10:34 AM   #3
artmanphoto
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n5bb - thanks very much for your post. I will look at the link. I really appreciate the information.

Bill
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Old 31 Jul 2018, 01:27 PM   #4
artmanphoto
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I think I may be having trouble correctly importing addresses from Excel into the current version of Thunderbird.

I have a two column Excel spreadsheet with the columns named Last Name and Primary Email. In each of these columns is the person's last name and their email address. I have saved the spreadsheet to a .csv file.

I have followed exactly the importing instructions in the link above and a new address book named HOA Mailing List was created. When I double click on the address book the information appears in two columns titled Name and Email. The strange thing is that the information under the Name column is the text that is BEFORE the @ sign in the person's email address. The information under the Email column is the person's complete email address which is correct.

When I double click on an entry the Edit Contact box opens with the person's last name in the "Last" box and the person's correct email address is in the Email box.

When I double click on the address book and it opens why doesn't the person's last name appear under the Name column as I thought the column would be titled Last Name instead of Name. During the import process I matched the Last Name and Primary Email to the spreadsheet columns.

The list has 75 names and I am afraid to send a test message to the members until I know it will work.

Any ideas or thoughts are appreciated. Thanks, Bill
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Old 31 Jul 2018, 03:51 PM   #5
n5bb
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Ah ... that's because of several odd decisions made by the Thunderbird developers. The Thunderbird address book display ignores the "First Name" and "Last Name" fields and instead uses the "Display Name" field as the name in the listing and when creating the To field in a composed email, although the First Name and Last Name are still visible if you inspect the details about a record. If there is no Display Name, Thunderbird assumes the left portion of the email address (before the @) is the display name. This makes no sense to me -- they could have concatenated the First Name and Last Name fields in that case, but they didn't. If all of those fields are present (First Name, Last Name, and Display Name) it works fine, but my guess is that you don't have a Display Name set up in your database.

So in Excel here is how you can concatenate the First Name and Last Name fields:
  • First, for reference you might want to export an empty address book from Thunderbird. This will give you a template to show the names Thunderbird expects in each column. You can then delete the column headings which you don't want to use.
  • Or for a minimal import (what I think you want right now), use these column titles in row 1 (ignoring the double quotes):
    • A: "First Name"
    • B: "Last Name"
    • C: "Display Name"
    • D: "Primary Email"
  • Copy the First Name, Last Name, and Primary Email (columns A, B, and D) from your database into the proper spreadsheet cells.
  • In cell C2 (under the Display Name heading) enter this equation (using the Enter key to terminate your entry. This will concatenate the First Name, a space character (between the quotes), and the Last Name:
    = A2 & " " & B2
  • Now click cell C2 (where you entered the formula) and drag the dot in the lower right corner of that cell down to the last row you are using. There are other ways of copying the equation, but that's the simple way I'm familiar with.
  • Now the concatenated "First Name" (space) "Last Name" full name should be in each of the Display Name cells.
  • Save this from Excel as a CSV file.
  • Import this CSV file into Thunderbird. When you are in the import tool looking at your data, you will be given a choice to check the fields you want to import and the order. It's important to use the move up/down buttons to cause the first four fields to be the ones you want to use from your CSV file (First Name, Last Name, Display Name, and Primary Email in that exact order with no intervening fields). I would uncheck all other fields so they don't try to import. You can use the Previous and Next buttons in the upper right to confirm that each record is properly being imported.
  • The confusing part for me is that the Thunderbird Import Address Book tool reads the fields in the order they are listed on the import tool, even though you uncheck some fields. So if you are not importing a Nickname, move that field down below the Primary Email.
  • Once you move the import fields up and down and check the fields you want to import, Thunderbird saves those settings. So it will be aggravating the first time, but in the future it should work like a charm (after you use my concatenation formula or some other trick to combine the first and last name in Excel or some other tool).
  • The root problem is that each email program has a different model for which fields are needed and their naming, order, and maximum length. I'm reminded of my experience with the early spreadsheet and address book tools in pre-MS-DOS personal computer operating systems (HDOS and CP/M for me) around 1980. Most address books still tried to fit the information into an 80 character line so it could be shown on a CRT terminal. The original line length of 80 characters came from commonly used Hollerith punched card formats. Teletype Model 33 machines had a shorter line length of 72 characters, which was very aggravating. By the early 1990's my employer was using some early email system, and one employee I know has a single word last name which is 15 characters long (with no hypens or special symbols). This was too long to fit into the fixed last name field, so his last name had to be truncated.
  • I hope my description of the steps isn't too confusing. Let me know if you get it working.
Bill
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Old 10 Aug 2018, 06:22 AM   #6
artmanphoto
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n5bb;

Thanks very much for your detailed message. I was a little confused but I was able to accomplish what I wanted to do.

I only wanted to import the person's last name and their email address. In my Excel spreadsheet I made the first column name "Display Name" and the second column name "Email". I did the import and it worked the way I wanted.

Thanks again for all the time you gave to help me - I really appreciate it!

Sorry for the delayed reply letting you know what I did. I had hip replacement surgery a week ago so I have been off the computer doing all of my exercises and physical therapy - no fun!

Bill
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Old 10 Aug 2018, 03:53 PM   #7
n5bb
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I'm glad you got it working, Bill. My hip joints are OK, but my knees are wearing out. Going downhill (especially down stairs) is no fun. My dad had total knee replacement on both of his knees on one day! That was over 20 years ago, and he passed away from unrelated causes 15 years ago. My mom fell and broke her hip 15 years ago, and I remember her recovery. I'm sure they have better surgical techniques and recovery plans today. Hang in there and you will be as good as new before too long.

Bill
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