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Export AD User List to CSV Format in 3 Different Ways

author
Published By Deepa Pandey
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On July 8th, 2024
Reading Time 6 Minutes Reading
Category Active Directory

Due to the complex nature of Active Directory environments, many administrators need help to export AD user list to CSV on their first try. All admin tasks, from developing daily activity reports to constructing Active Directory audit checklist require user list extraction in some form or other. That’s why we have put together a series of methods that can help admins get the data in the most suitable manner possible. Let us start with the most in-demand method first.

Get Active Directory User List in CSV via PowerShell Scripts

We expand upon the basic Get-ADUser cmdlet and add a CSV exporting feature. You can find the desired solution with the help of this script:

# Ensure the Active Directory module is imported
Import-Module ActiveDirectory

# Define the properties you want to include
$properties = @('Name', 'SamAccountName', 'UserPrincipalName', 'EmailAddress')

# Chose the location to store the result
$path = "C:\Users\Administrator\Desktop\AD-Users.csv"

# Get all users and store it 
$users = Get-ADUser -Filter * -Property $properties | Select-Object $properties 

# Display the results in the PowerShell console
$users | ft

# Export the results to a CSV file
$users | Export-Csv -Path $path -NoTypeInformation

Get Active Directory User List in CSV via PowerShell Scripts

Despite the complexity, this is a fairly basic script, any other custom filters like exporting user group membership from AD require additional enhancements. However, they are easier said than done, as even a seemingly basic change like combining the Format table (FT) parameter with Export -Csv is a recipe for disaster. As it ends up destroying the output by converting it into a garbage CSV file with the PowerShell hexadecimal values instead of the user list. Don’t worry, PowerShell is not the only way as AD provides another code-free way of achieving the same results.

Export the AD User List to CSV Format with ADUC

Sometimes the Users and Computers component might not be present in the Active directory. So admins first have to install and link it to their AD. After that’s done follow the instructions given below.

Step 1. Launch the ADUC snap-in.

Step 2. Click on View > Filter Options… or hit the filter button inside the toolbar.
View > Filters

Step 3. In the Filter Option box toggle “Show only the following types of objects”.

Step 4. Mark the Users category. Click OK.
Toggle > Mark > OK

Step 5. Scan through all the folders and subfolders. Every object except the users is hidden so it should be easier to find the users.

Step 6. Once you find the list Go to Action > Export List… or Hit the Export List button directly.
Action > Export

Step 7. In the Export List window type a suitable name and choose either Text or Unicode-based CSV delimiter as the saving type.

Step .8 Once done hit the Save button.
Get Active Directory User List in CSV Using ADUC

Step 9. Go to the folder where you saved the file and open it via a CSV viewer to look at and work with the results.

However, to make exporting easier admins lose out on many of the filtering capabilities making the results lackluster. Both the traditional approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, making it even more difficult to select a particular solution. That’s why we came up with an easier method to choose one over the other.

Comparison of the Two Native Methods

To address the confusion among admins here is a point-by-point comparison matrix highlighting the pros and cons of both the previously discussed methods.

Criteria PowerShell Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC)
Ease of Use Requires knowledge of PowerShell scripting and commands. User-friendly graphical interface; no scripting knowledge required.
Flexibility Highly flexible; allows customization of queries and output. Limited to predefined options and attributes.
Automation Easily automated using scripts and Task Scheduler. Not easily automated; manual process required for each export.
Attributes Selection Can specify any attribute available in AD schema using -Properties parameter. Limited to attributes available in the ADUC interface.
Performance Efficient for large datasets, especially when using filters. Can be slower and less efficient for large datasets.
Filtering Capabilities Advanced filtering using the -Filter parameter. Basic filtering options; less advanced than PowerShell.
Export Customization Can fully customize the output format and file location using Export-Csv cmdlet. Limited customization; must use default export options.
Error Handling Errors can be scripted and logged for troubleshooting. Limited error handling; errors must be manually resolved.
Security Can be restricted to specific users via script permissions. ADUC access is controlled by user permissions and AD roles.
Learning Curve Steeper learning curve for beginners. Easier for beginners with basic AD knowledge.
Prerequisites Requires installation of the Active Directory module for PowerShell. Requires ADUC to be installed and accessible.
Scalability Scales well with large environments and complex queries. Less scalable for large environments.

Both the traditional methods fail to meet the expectations of administrators. that’s why we have a third alternative that seeks to merge the best of both worlds while limiting the problems that administrators complain about.

Automated Way to Export AD User List to CSV Easily

The sure shot way to avoid the complexities of PowerShell and the clumsiness of ADUC is to go with the SysTools AD Reporting Tool. Designed to keep user effort at a minimum, the GUI-based solution provides an easy-to-follow user data extraction method.

Download Now Purchase Now

Admins can use the software to remotely access the AD and get the entire object information This time-saving utility requires no training or expertise to operate, which is better explained with the following steps.

Step 1. Open the Tool on your system, Click on Login after the the default (administrator) credentials auto-fill.

Step 2. Using the REGISTER DOMIN CONTROLLER button access the inbuilt domain registry window.

Step 3. Type the required information, i.e. the Domain friendly name and IP address, then press the Save and Continue button.

Step 4. Inside the Domain Details page, complete admin validation and go to the Reports tab.

Step 5. Select the All category under the user workload.

Step 6. With the Preview button, look at the data before the export.

Step 7. Toggle the download button and export the AD user list to CSV.

Step 8. Open the resultant file in any spreadsheet viewer and perform further analysis.

 

Conclusion

Here in this writeup, we saw how important it is to export the AD user list to CSV. However, at the same time, we explained how traditional methods like PowerShell or ADUC fail to deliver. By being either too complex or lacking any sort of customisability. Therefore, as a last-ditch effort, admins are recommended to skip over the manual mayhem and instead utilize the professional alternative.

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