Outlook and OE address book support in Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird and SeaMonkey (and even the Mozilla Suite and Netscape 7) can actually be set up to use your Outlook Express address book, and/or your Outlook Contacts list. It’s just another one of those features that are not in the user interface.

To make Thunderbird use your Outlook Express address book, close Thunderbird, and add the following lines to your prefs.js file:
user_pref("ldap_2.servers.OE.description", "Outlook Express");
user_pref("ldap_2.servers.OE.dirType", 3);
user_pref("ldap_2.servers.OE.uri", "moz-aboutlookdirectory://oe/");

For Outlook Contacts, use these lines:
user_pref("ldap_2.servers.Outlook.description", "Outlook");
user_pref("ldap_2.servers.Outlook.dirType", 3);
user_pref("ldap_2.servers.Outlook.uri", "moz-aboutlookdirectory://op/");

One important note: in order for it to work with Outlook, Outlook must be set as the system default mail client.

Interestingly enough, it appears this feature goes back to Mozilla 1.0.

48 Replies to “Outlook and OE address book support in Thunderbird”

  1. bueno- a question- the history of sites visited is now saved in my search line and I don’t want them there. What can I do to delete em? thks harry of bisbee arizona

  2. Is there a similar bit of code in Thunderbird to make it use Evolution on Linux for the address book? That’d be really spiffy.

  3. This is a great feature. I had tried it as far back as Thuderbird 0.5. Unfortunately, it still (Thunderbird 1.5) suffers from the same two drawbacks that prevented me from using it then.

    (1) As Matt said, accessing the Outlook contacts from Thunderbird is hideously slow. It takes over 15s to do an address completion in my compose window. And there’s no UI feedback to tell me what’s going on.

    (2) I want Thunderbird to be my default email program. XP has a default Contact List program in the Internet Options control panel. Why can’t I set that to Outlook and leave the email program set to Thunderbird?

  4. This does not work on my computer at all. Thunderbird is not searching Outlook contacts. Is there anything I can do?

  5. Ouch, not supported in 1.5 – Thunderbird sees these lines as evidence of a corrupt prefs.js and so wipes it clean as if installing from scratch, leading to all kinds of pain! Do not try without backing up the prefs.js file!!!

  6. I have my Outlook addresses/contact on another PC and I want to transfer them to my new PC which is using Thuderbird. Please advise. Thank you.

    Frank

  7. Two remarks:
    1. Connection to Outlook address book is impossible if there is a password associated to your Personnal Folders File (.pst).
    2. With Oulook Unicode .pst-file, no search can be done with Seamonkey (1.0.7). It shows an empty result, then crashs !

  8. Very interesting! Had no idea that Outlook Express address book can be accessed through ldap! This means that conversion of address books is much easier job then I thought I might write a freeware utility to do this.
    Which ldap direcvtories are being used on Mac?

  9. This works to read Outlook contacts. Anyway to modify entries and have it store back to Outlook contacts (e.g., Mozilla Address Book will not post changes back to OP address book)?

  10. Hi there…

    This is a very handy function.
    I’ve never had any problems with address book speed, it’s quite fast!
    One little irritation is that it seems to only be a “one way” type affair. ie Thunderbird reads the address book, but doesn’t write anything back into Outllok Express.
    Has anyone else had trouble with this?

    Hilton

  11. I’ve installed this script and there is a slight problem. Thunderbird2 loads the outlook express address book, and for note by Hilton (14/3/07 post) changed details into Outlook Express too.
    Problem: when you click on the icon to write your 1st email an error message comes back saying unable to load address book file (which is not true as it does load them). See the website link for the screenshot. However, after this 1st error message, it does not appear again. Just a minor annoyance. The fix anyone?

  12. I don’t have that problem with TB 2. The problem I have is that TB can’t search in my Windows address book. Is it possible to make the search work?

  13. I am using TB 2 and Outlook 2002 SP 3. I have added the lines to my pref.js in my default profile. I am seeing the slow performance that was noted by Matt in posting #6 above. Any ideas to fix would be appreciated. I’m not seeing the build-up of lines that is listed in the file referenced in posting #14. Thanks.

  14. I am using TB 2 and Outlook 2002 SP 3. I have added the lines to my pref.js in my default profile. I am seeing the slow performance that was noted by Matt in posting #6 above. Any ideas to fix would be appreciated. I’m not seeing the build-up of lines that is listed in the file referenced in posting #14. Thanks.

  15. This is a great feature. I am using it so that I can sync my Palm Handheld with Outlook Addressbook, and then use the outlook addressbook in Thunderbird 2. This works finme, but is, as people have mentioned above, very, very slow. It also means that I have to open Outlook in order to use the calendar.
    I would prefer to use the Palm Desktop addressbook, though, because then I wouldn’t have to start Outlook at all. Is there a way to so something similar with the Palm Desktop Addressbook?

  16. Works as claimed except using the OE linked address book to send to a list puts a double copy of the list into the message addresses. Works fine with a single address. Any suggestions?
    (Thunderbird 2.0.0.6, Win XP)

  17. I had this set up on another system. Now, I’m unable to get it to work. I’m using Thunderbird 2.0.0.6, Outlook 2007, and running on Windows Vista. Anyone know if there’s something else I can do to get it to work. For some reason, I thought that I had to set up and LDAP directory last time I did this.

    Michael

  18. Regarding the “Unable to load address file abook.mab” messages. I’ve had this happen before. It arises when Thunderbird crashes and the address book is open. It may be tied to synching to Palm OS using the Palm sync add on.

    When it happens, it makes a copy of your abook.mab file and names the old version “abook.mab.prev”. Try switching these file names when Thunderbird is closed. Then reopen it and it should read the old file. You can also make sure the file is not “read-only”.

    That worked for me before but not this time. I came here looking for help.

  19. PS. I meant to tell you where the abook.map files are located:

    C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR PROFILE NAME\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\*******.default

  20. I had this working, but deactivated it because it was terribly slow (delays for up to one minute or so).

    Now, I cannot get this to work. I’m using TB 2.0.0.9 and Outlook 2003.

    Does anyone have an idea on how I can make this work again?

  21. Sync contacts between a Mobile Device (MS ActiveSync), MS Outlook, MS Outlook Express AND Thunderbird!

    Ok, here it goes:
    1. Use Outlook as the main contact repository. MS ActiveSync synchronises contacts with MS Outlook).
    2. Force Outlook Express to use Outlook contacts. Change registry as per this link: http://www.slipstick.com/contacts/oeshare.htm
    3. Use the Outlook Express method described above to get Thunderbird to use Outlook Express contacts (which, in turn, uses Outlook contacts).

    Result:
    1. Thunderbird uses Outlook contacts WITHOUT having to set Outlook as the default mail client.
    2. All software/devices use effectively a single contacts repository.

    Drawbacks:
    1. The update/search contact operations within Thundrbird are slow (they can become VERY slow – but this seems to be a known issue anyway).
    2. Although MS Outlook Express from/to MS Outlook updates contact changes between the two, changes performed in Thunderbird are not updating the MS applications.
    3. Changes to contact details made within Thunderbird are lost when quitting and re-openning Thunderbird. Thunderbird re-loads the contact list every time.

  22. I forgot to mention software versions:
    Windows XP, XP Pro, 2003 server
    Thunderbird 2.0.0.12 (current version at the time of posting this)
    MS Outlook 2003
    MS Outlook Express 6

  23. Regarding the problem opening the default address book when sending the first message: In the prefs.js file, I changed “default.mab” to “abook.mab” in both locations. This solved the problem.

  24. Everything is working except I can’t search in Outlook Express address book. Is it possible to make the search work?

  25. Try- outlook express fix,extract the user’s correspondence from a corrupted .dbx file and to save messages to separate files of the *.eml format (RFC822 standard) after that,software tool that allows the user to recover lost messages from corrupted Outlook Express folders,can be used to reindex large *.dbx files, which helps Outlook Express to start working normally again,can also easily copy (or move) a message in the *.eml file to Outlook Express folders or to other programs supporting this standard.

  26. The problem I still have is related with Thunderbird. After set up Thunderbird to use the Outlook Express address book I was able to use the address but not to search them. Thunderbird has a search feature that allow us, for example, write the first name and the Thunderbird returns all contacts that has that name. This feature is not working with Outlook Express contacts.

  27. I heard about not bad application-recover outlook messages,
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  28. Where is fine tool-recover outlook messages,
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  29. Is there an option to sync the contacts directly into the “Personal Address Book” in Thunderbird and not in an “OE Contacts” additional one?

  30. I want to export my address book from my laptop that is running Windows XP with Mozilla Thunderbird to my new PC that is running Windows XP with Outlook. Can you help me?

  31. It’s very easy to set-up, and a great feature, but it is so slow that I had to disable it. One minute per search simply isn’t workable!!!

    Does anyone know if this will be fixed?

    Thanks

  32. In this situation advise use next tool-how to recover outlook contact,which to my mind one the best in this sphere,as far as i know it is free,program restore all emails, contacts, messages, tasks and calendars are stored on server, not on your PC,also store all contacts, as well as messages, tasks and calendars are stored in *.ost format,recover contacts from ost, repair contacts Outlook and restore all data, that was considered to be lost,can export contacts to *.vcf files, that can be exported to Personal Information Management (PIM) tools or Windows Address Book,restore a list of files in *.eml, *.vcf and *.txt formats,exporting of recovered content into a file with *.pst extension, that can be easily opened offline with Microsoft Outlook or any other compatible email client.

  33. In this situation advise-extract .dbx,as far as i know tool is free,it can repair mailboxes in Outlook Express format and extract emails, when it is possible,repair messages from all folders and extract .dbx files, even from Deleted Items,moves to the preview mode, where our customers can take a look at the emails, that will be retrieved during the next stage,works with all Windows operating systems, starting from Windows 98 to Windows Vista (Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 2003).

  34. There is good tool which works with outlook and other mail files-i cannot open my pst files,program is free as how as i remember,it opening corrupted pst files, it is compatible with Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista and all supported versions of Microsoft Outlook,repair and open pst files and pst files open,program to open pst files analyzes the data, this process is very complicated and it can take some time, according to CPU speed and file size, no user intervention is required at this stage,can convert your mailbox to separate files or to a file of PST format.

  35. unknown error 0x80040116 is usually associated with a corrupted outlook pst file and can be repaired with the right tools.

  36. Hi Philip and Zero,

    That’s really useful. I have it working … apart from search.

    Would you care to point me to a site that would tell me how to apply the useOutlook registry patch? I don’t even know which registry we’re talking about (Outlook? Windows? Thunderbird?) so I’m not keen to start fiddling :).

    Thanks,

    Ian

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