Migrating from Evolution to Thunderbird

I was a die-hard Thunderbird user. Back in the Warty or Hoary days I tried Evolution briefly, but it was too buggy for my taste.

However when I installed Edgy on my notebook I decided to try Evolution out for the calendar and todo list – which until that point I had been keeping only on my Nokia 9500 as it was always on me.

Finally I must admit that I’m not using Evo’s calendar or todo list. Depite the promise of syncing my Nokia E61 to Evolution, I’ve given up on that as it always grinds to a halt after only half my contacts have been copied over. After it duplicated those it had copied I gave up on synchronisation.

So… back to Thunderbird. The mail was easy as my two primary mailboxes are IMAP – but getting the Address Book copied over has been painful.

In summary, Evolution only exports to VCard, and Thunderbird only imports from CSV or LDIF.

Despite the promise of this script evol2tbird-addressbook.py, it only extracted the names from Evo, without email addresses, so I tried this method of exporting Evolution’s Address Book to CSV and importing that into Thunderbird:

evolution-addressbook-export --format=csv > contacts.csv

It took some fiddling on the CSV import to get the fields to line up, but it worked – except that none of the contacts have display names now so they look weird in Thunderbird. Somehow the automatic concatenation of first and last names when you are entering a new contact doesn’t work when editing an existing contact…

There is also apparently a two-step process of using KAddressbook (a KDE app) which can import VCard and export LDIF. Perhaps I’ll try this out if editing all the displaynames in Thunderbird proves too painful.

I’ll let Evo’s development catch up for the next year or two and try again…

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3 Responses to “Migrating from Evolution to Thunderbird”


  1. 1 Tony April 12, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    Take a look at MoreColsForAddressBook

    Let’s T’Bird handle vCard & vcf

  2. 2 Ray Lillard February 27, 2008 at 12:13 am

    I just tried the Kaddressbook approach and it works well. I too tried Evolution on Gutsy and was dissapointed. I am moving back to T-bird.

  3. 3 xavier September 10, 2009 at 1:30 am

    the kaddresbook way worked fine with me! took some time to specify wich info belongs where (address in the address field, etc.), but worked.
    but doing something similar with the calendar is not working. I only have the information for 1 or 2 months, not the rest of the year!


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