Common LDAP Properties and Script Attributes List with Examples

Common LDAP Properties and Script Attributes List with Examples

Common LDAP Attributes for VBS and Powershell Scripts

This page explains the common Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) attributes which are used in VBS scripts and PowerShell.  Programs like VBScript (WSH), CSVDE and LDIFDE rely on these LDAP attributes to create or modify objects in Active Directory.  For example, when you bulk import users you will include the LDAP attributes: dn and sAMAccountName.

Topics for LDAP Attributes

Hall of Fame LDAP Attribute – DN  Distinguished Name

As the word ‘distinguished’ suggests, this is THE LDAP attribute that uniquely defines an object.  Each DN must have a different name and location from all other objects in Active Directory.  The other side of the coin is that DN provides a way of selecting any object in Active Directory.  Once you have selected the object, then you can change its attributes.

Time spent in getting to know the DN attribute will repay manyfold.  Observe the different components CN=common name, OU = organizational unit.  DC often comes with two entries, DC=CP, DC=COM.  Note that DC=CP.COM would be wrong.  Incidentally, in this situation, DC means domain content rather than domain controller.

Another point with the syntax is to check the speech marks; when used with VBScript commands, DN is often enclosed in “speech marks”.  Even the speech marks have to be of the right type, “double quotes are correct”, ‘single quotes may be ignored’, with unpredictable results.  Finally, pay particular attention to commas in distinguished names.

LDAP Attributes from Active Directory Users and Computers

The diagram below is taken from Active Directory Users and Computers. It shows the commonest LDAP attributes for vVBSscripts.

LDAP Attributes for CSVDE

When you write your scripts, check how the LDAP attributes map to the Active Directory boxes.

Research Tip:
One of my favourite techniques is to add values in the active directory property boxes, then export using CSVDE.  Next, open the .csv file in Excel, search for the value, and read the LDAP field name from row 1.

Common LDAP Attributes List with Examples

LDAP Attribute


CCountry: e.g GB for Great Britain.
CN – Common NameCN=Guy Thomas.  Actually, this LDAP attribute can be made up from givenName joined to SN.
CNMaps to ‘Name’ in the LDAP provider. Remember CN is a mandatory property.  See also sAMAccountName.
descriptionWhat you see in Active Directory Users and Computers.  Not to be confused with displayName on the Users property sheet.
displayNamedisplayName = Guy Thomas.  If you script this property, be sure you understand which field you are configuring.  DisplayName can be confused with CN or description.

 LDAP Properties - Active Directory Users and ComputersDisplay name -v- Description

Important LDAP Notes

Display name and Description are different

Office’s LDAP attribute is:


E-mail is plain: mail

DN – also distinguishedNameDN is simply the most important LDAP attribute.
CN=Jay Jamieson, OU= Newport, DC=cp, DC=com
givenNameFirstname also called Christian name
homeDriveHome Folder: connect.  Tricky to configure
initialsUseful in some cultures.
namename = Guy Thomas.  Exactly the same as CN.
objectCategoryDefines the Active Directory Schema category. For example, objectCategory = Person
objectClassobjectClass = User.  Also used for Computer, organizationalUnit, even container.  Important top-level container.
physicalDeliveryOfficeNameOffice! on the user’s General property sheet
postOfficeBoxP.O. box.
profilePathRoaming profile path: connect.  Trick to set up
sAMAccountNameThis is a mandatory property,sAMAccountName = guyt.  The old NT 4.0 logon name, must be unique in the domain.
sAMAccountNameIf you are using an LDAP provider ‘Name’ automatically maps to sAMAcountName and CN. The default value is same as CN, but can be given a different value.
SNSN = Thomas. This would be referred to as last name or surname.
titleJob title.  For example Manager.
userAccountControlUsed to disable an account.  A value of 514 disables the account, while 512 makes the account ready for logon.
userPrincipalNameuserPrincipalName =  Often abbreviated to UPN, and looks like an email address.  Very useful for logging on especially in a large Forest.  Note UPN must be unique in the forest.
wWWHomePageUser’s home page.

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Examples of Exchange Specific LDAP attributes

homeMDBHere is where you set the MailStore
legacyExchangeDNLegacy distinguished name for creating Contacts. In the following example,
Guy Thomas is a Contact in the first administrative group of GUYDOMAIN: /o=GUYDOMAIN/ou=first administrative group/cn=Recipients/cn=Guy Thomas
mailAn easy, but important attribute.  A simple SMTP address is all that is required
mAPIRecipient – FALSEIndicates that a contact is not a domain user.
mailNicknameNormally this is the same value as the sAMAccountName, but could be different if you wished.  Needed for mail enabled contacts.
mDBUseDefaultsAnother straightforward field, just the value to: True
msExchHomeServerNameExchange needs to know which server to deliver the mail.  Example:
/o=YourOrg/ou=First Administrative Group/cn=Configuration/cn=Servers/cn=MailSrv
proxyAddressesAs the name ‘proxy’ suggests, it is possible for one recipient to have more than one email address.  Note the plural spelling of proxyAddresses.
 targetAddressSMTP:@ e-mail address.  Note that SMTP is case sensitive.  All capitals means the default address.
 showInAddressBookDisplays the contact in the Global Address List.

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Other Useful LDAP Attributes / Properties

cCountry or Region
companyCompany or organization name
departmentUseful category to fill in and use for filtering
homephoneHome Phone number, (Lots more phone LDAPs)
l  (Lower case L)L = Location.  City ( Maybe Office
locationImportant, particularly for printers and computers.
managerBoss, manager
mobileMobile Phone number
ObjectClassUsually, User, or Computer
OUOrganizational unit.  See also DN
pwdLastSetForce users to change their passwords at next logon
postalCodeZip or post code
stState, Province or County
streetAddressFirst line of address
telephoneNumberOffice Phone
userAccountControlEnable (512) / disable account (514)

Examples of Obscure LDAP Attributes

uSNCreated, uSNChanged

LDAP and CSVDE Tip  To discover more LDAP attributes, go to the command prompt, type:

CSVDE -f Exportfile.csv.  Then open Exportfile.csv with Excel.exe.   Alternatively, use ADSI Edit and right-click the container objects.


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