How to Import/Export Active Directory Users with CSVDE?

CSVDE is a command-line tool that allows you to import and export Active Directory objects from/to CSV text files (comma separated values) or Excel files. The csvde tool is simply irreplaceable when you need to create, export, or migrate hundreds of AD users.

The csvde utility is automatically installed on Windows Server when it is promoted to a domain controller, during the installation of the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) or Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) roles. You can also install the tool via Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT).

To get all the options and syntax for the csvde utility, just run this command in the command prompt:

csvde export

CSV Directory Exchange

General Parameters


-i Turn on Import Mode (The default is Export)

-f filename Input or Output filename

-s servername The server to bind to (Default to DC of computer’s domain)

-v Turn on Verbose Mode

-c FromDN ToDN Replace occurences of FromDN to ToDN

-j path Log File Location

-t port Port Number (default = 389)

-u Use Unicode format

-h Enable SASL layer signing and encryption

-? Help

Export Specific


-d RootDN The root of the LDAP search (Default to Naming Context)

-r Filter LDAP search filter (Default to “(objectClass=*)”)

-p SearchScope Search Scope (Base/OneLevel/Subtree)

-l list List of attributes (comma separated) to look for in an

LDAP search

-o list List of attributes (comma separated) to omit from input.

-g Disable Paged Search.

-m Enable the SAM logic on export.

-n Do not export binary values



-k The import will go on ignoring ‘Constraint Violation’ and

‘Object Already Exists’ errors

Credentials Establishment


Note that if no credentials is specified, CSVDE will bind as the currently

logged on user, using SSPI.

-a UserDN [Password | *] Simple authentication

-b UserName Domain [Password | *] SSPI bind method

Example: Simple import of current domain

csvde -i -f INPUT.CSV

Example: Simple export of current domain

csvde -f OUTPUT.CSV

Example: Export of specific domain with credentials

csvde -m -f OUTPUT.CSV



-d “cn=users,DC=DOMAINNAME,DC=Microsoft,DC=Com”

-r “(objectClass=user)”

No log files were written. In order to generate a log file, please

specify the log file path via the -j option.

Let’s look at some examples of using the CSVDE tool.


The following command will export all objects with all attributes from the specified AD Organizational Unit:

csvde -f  C:\PS\all_users.csv -d "ou=Users,OU=Paris,dc=theitbros,dc=com" –u

Connecting to “(null)”

Logging in as current user using SSPI

Exporting directory to file C:\PS\all_users.csv

Searching for entries…

Writing out entries

Export Completed. Post-processing in progress…

343 entries exported

The command has completed successfully

csvde import

To export only user accounts, use the following filter with the –r parameter. Using the –l parameter, you can specify which user attributes should be exported to the csv file.

csvde -f C:\PS\all_users.csv -d "ou=Users,OU=Paris,dc=theitbros,dc=com" -r "(&(objectcategory=person)(objectclass=user))" -l userPrincipalName,DN,objectClass,description,department,title,telefonNumber


In order to export all users with a specific name, use the filter:

-r (& (objectClass = User) (sn = Jackson))

You can export this file to Excel and use it as a template for importing users into Active Directory. Create users.csv file with the following values:

objectClass sAMAccountName DN

user m.decker CN=Moritz Decker,OU=Users,OU=Munich,OU=DE,DC=theitbros,DC=com

user m.decker1 CN=Moritz Decker1,OU=Users,OU=Munich,OU=DE,DC=theitbros,DC=com

csvde command

To bulk create users in AD, run the command:

Csvde -i -f C:\ps\new_users.csv –k

Connecting to “(null)”

Logging in as current user using SSPI

Importing directory from file “C:\ps\new_users.csv”

Loading entries…….

6 entries modified successfully.

The csvde created 6 new users in Active Directory.

csvde export users

Start the Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) snap-in and verify that there are new users in AD.

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csvde import users

All user accounts are disabled. You can enable them manually or using the following PowerShell one-liner:

Get-ADUser -Filter 'Name -like "*"' -SearchBase "OU=Users,OU=Munich,OU=DE,DC=theitbros,DC=com" | Enable-ADAccount

Hint. The csvde can be used to migrate users via CSV text files from on-premises Active Directory to the Azure or AWS cloud.

The main cons of csvde:

  • Doesn’t allow to edit, update or remove existing Active Directory objects;
  • When importing, you can only create new objects;
  • You cannot set or export user passwords;
  • Secure connection to LDAP over SSL is not supported.
Cyril Kardashevsky

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