How to Export Contacts in Mozilla Thunderbird

How-to guide for backing up your Thunderbird contacts to a file

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Exporting Thunderbird contacts to a file is really easy, and it's a perfect solution if you need to use those contacts elsewhere. It works for any type of contact, no matter if they're the email addresses and other details of your friends, colleagues, business partners, family, customers, etc.

When it's time to back up your Thunderbird contacts, you can pick from four different file formats. The one you choose should depend on what you want to do with the address book file. For example, maybe you need to import the contacts into another email program or use them with your spreadsheet software.

How to Export Thunderbird Contacts

  1. Click or tap the Address Book button at the top of Thunderbird.
    1. Tip: If you don't see the Mail Toolbar, use the Ctrl+Shift+B shortcut instead. Or, hit the Alt key and then go to Tools > Address Book.
  2. Choose an address book from the left.
    1. Note: If you select the top option called All Address Books, you'll be prompted to download all the address books one at a time at Step 7.
  3. Go to the Tools menu and select Export... to open the export window.
  4. Browse through your computer folders to pick where the address book backup should go. You can save it anywhere, but be sure to choose somewhere familiar so that you don't lose it. The Documents or Desktop folder is often the best choice.
  5. Choose any name you want for the address book backup file.
  6. Next to "Safe as type:", use the drop-down menu to choose from any of these file formats: CSV, TXT, VCF, and LDIF.
    1. Tip: The CSV format is the most likely format that you want to save your address book entries to. However, follow those links to learn more about each format to see what they're used for, how to open one if you end up using it, and more.
  1. Click or tap the Save button to export your Thunderbird contacts to the folder you chose in Step 4.
  2. Once the file is saved, and the prompt from the previous step closes, you can exit the Address Book window and return to Thunderbird.

More Help Using Thunderbird

If you can't export your address book entries because Thunderbird isn't opening correctly, follow the directions in that link or try starting Thunderbird in safe mode.

If you'd rather, you can save your contacts to another location not by exporting just your address book but by backing up your entire Thunderbird profile. See How to Back up or Copy a Mozilla Thunderbird Profile for help doing that.