Using Thunderbird Address Books

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Thunderbird has two default address books: your Personal Address Book (abook.mab) and the Collected Addresses address book (history.mab). Additionally, there might be other address books, with various names, created when address books from other applications are imported. All address book database files have an extension of .mab (Mozilla Address Book).

You can move or copy an address book from one Thunderbird profile to another by simply copying the abook.mab and history.mab files to the new profile. (You should do this before using the other profile's address books because the originals would be lost.)

The other, imported, address books can not be copied from one profile to another. This is due to the fact that the linkages to tell Thunderbird about these additional address books are located in prefs.js. Rather than attempt to modify prefs.js, it is usually easier to export the address book (to an LDIF file) from the first profile and then reimport it into the second profile.

Another issue is backups of the address books. Each address book can be backed up by exporting the address book to an LDIF file and then backing up the LDIF file to a disk, CD-R, or other external media.

To export an address book, do the following:

1.

Open the Address Book window by selecting Tools, Address Books in the Thunderbird menu.

2.

Click the address book to export.

3.

Click Tools in the Address Book window (not the Thunderbird window), and select Export.

4.

Provide a unique name for the exported address book.

5.

Repeat this process for all the address books you have, including the Personal Address Book and the Collected Addresses address book.

Reimporting an exported address book is similar. Just follow these steps:

1.

Open the Address Book window by selecting Tools, Address Books in the Thunderbird menu.

2.

Click Tools in the Address Book window (not the Thunderbird window), and select Import. The address book information will be imported into a new address book named the same name as the import file.

3.

Following the import, you can either rename the newly created address book or copy the entries into one of your other address books.

4.

Repeat this process for all the address books you want to import.

If you find that you don't have a good backup of your custom and imported address books but the profile will no longer load, there is a procedure to try to recover these lost address books. One suggested technique is to follow the instructions at http://kb.mozillazine.org/Moving_address_books_between_profiles. Another suggestion is to do this:

1.

Create a new, blank profile.

2.

Exit Thunderbird.

3.

In the profile, rename the abook.mab file to a temporary name for example, temp-abook.mab (see step 10).

4.

Copy your custom or imported address book from the old, nonworking profile to the new profile and rename this file abook.mab.

5.

Open Thunderbird and open the Address Book window. Check the Personal Address Book and see whether your original addresses are in the file. If they are, follow the next steps (and if not, try the hyperlink noted previously).

6.

Create a new address book. In the Address Book window's menu, select File, New, Address Book. Give this new address book the name of your old address book (or any other name you want to use).

7.

Copy all the names from the Personal Address Book to your newly created address book.

8.

Exit Thunderbird.

9.

Rename the abook.mab file to a different name. This file will not be used except as an emergency backup.

10.

Finally, rename the address book file you renamed in step 3 (temp-abook.mab) to abook.mab.

With just a tiny bit of luck, you should have recovered your custom or imported address book.

Thunderbird's address book features are powerful, flexible, and easy to use.

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    Firefox and Thunderbird. Beyond Browsing and Email
    Firefox and Thunderbird Garage
    ISBN: 0131870041
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2003
    Pages: 245

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