If you need to import or export many users at once, the tools CSVDE and LDIFDE can be used to perform these functions. This videos looks at how to export and import Active Directory users using these tools.

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Bulk User Creation
Tools like CSVDE and LDIFDE are often used in the creation of new users. Since CSVDE uses CSV files, these files are easy to create in software like excel or the CSV files created using scripts. This means tools like these can be used with other systems. For example, in a school, a list of users could be exported from the enrollment system. This list could be as the input file to create the user in Active Directory assuming it is the correct format. CSVDE and LDIFDE are also used when migration between different directories. For example, the tools could be used to export users in a domain and then import them in another domain.

The main difference between the tools is the data file that they use. CSVDE uses the comma-delimited format. This type of file separates data in the file by the use of commas. Excel support CSV files and thus these files can easily be modified or created using Excel.

LDIDFE uses Lightweight Directory Access Protocol Data Interchange Format. This format is an open format that is used by some non-Microsoft directory services. Using this format may allow exporting of objects from a non-Microsoft system so they can be imported into Active Directory. This allows migration to occur between systems that may not have been possible otherwise.

CSVDE vs LDIFDE parameters
The parameters for CSVDE and LDIFDE are mostly the same. For a full list see the technet articles in the references section.


This specifies the data is coming from a file given in the filename.


This switches the utility to import mode, other data is exported.


This will continue processing even if an error occurs. For example, if you are creating users and a user already exists, the processing will stop and give you an error indicating the user already exists. The –k parameter will continue processing even when errors occur.

“MCTS 70-640 Configuring Windows Server 2008 Active Directory” pg 90 – 92
“LDAP Data Interchange Format” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LDAP_Data_Interchange_Format
“Csvde” http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc732101
“Ldifde” http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc731033


Lesson tags: 70-640-active-directory
Back to: 70-640 Introduction to Active Directory > Maintaining Active Directory Objects

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