ldif(5) — Linux manual page


LDIF(5)                    File Formats Manual                   LDIF(5)

NAME         top

       ldif - LDAP Data Interchange Format

DESCRIPTION         top

       The LDAP Data Interchange Format (LDIF) is used to represent LDAP
       entries and change records in text form. LDAP tools, such as
       ldapadd(1) and ldapsearch(1), read and write LDIF entry records.
       ldapmodify(1) reads LDIF change records.

       This manual page provides a basic description of LDIF.  A formal
       specification of LDIF is published in RFC 2849.

ENTRY RECORDS         top

       LDIF entry records are used to represent directory entries.  The
       basic form of an entry record is:

            dn: <distinguished name>
            <attrdesc>: <attrvalue>
            <attrdesc>: <attrvalue>
            <attrdesc>:: <base64-encoded-value>
            <attrdesc>:< <URL>

       The value may be specified as UTF-8 text or as base64 encoded
       data, or a URI may be provided to the location of the attribute

       A line may be continued by starting the next line with a single
       space or tab, e.g.,

            dn: cn=Barbara J Jensen,dc=exam

       Lines beginning with a sharp sign ('#') are ignored.

       Multiple attribute values are specified on separate lines, e.g.,

            cn: Barbara J Jensen
            cn: Babs Jensen

       If an value contains a non-printing character, or begins with a
       space or a colon ':', the <attrtype> is followed by a double
       colon and the value is encoded in base 64 notation. e.g., the
       value " begins with a space" would be encoded like this:

            cn:: IGJlZ2lucyB3aXRoIGEgc3BhY2U=

       If the attribute value is located in a file, the <attrtype> is
       followed by a ':<' and a file: URI.  e.g., the value contained in
       the file /tmp/value would be listed like this:

            cn:< file:///tmp/value
       Other URI schemes (ftp,http) may be supported as well.

       Multiple entries within the same LDIF file are separated by blank


       Here is an example of an LDIF file containing three entries.

            dn: cn=Barbara J Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
            cn: Barbara J Jensen
            cn: Babs Jensen
            objectclass: person
            description:< file:///tmp/babs
            sn: Jensen

            dn: cn=Bjorn J Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
            cn: Bjorn J Jensen
            cn: Bjorn Jensen
            objectclass: person
            sn: Jensen

            dn: cn=Jennifer J Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
            cn: Jennifer J Jensen
            cn: Jennifer Jensen
            objectclass: person
            sn: Jensen
            jpegPhoto:: /9j/4AAQSkZJRgABAAAAAQABAAD/2wBDABALD

       Note that the description in Barbara Jensen's entry is read from
       file:///tmp/babs and the jpegPhoto in Jennifer Jensen's entry is
       encoded using base 64.

CHANGE RECORDS         top

       LDIF change records are used to represent directory change
       requests.  Each change record starts with line indicating the
       distinguished name of the entry being changed:

            dn: <distinguishedname>

            changetype: <[modify|add|delete|modrdn]>

       Finally, the change information itself is given, the format of
       which depends on what kind of change was specified above.  For a
       changetype of modify, the format is one or more of the following:

            add: <attributetype>
            <attrdesc>: <value1>
            <attrdesc>: <value2>

       Or, for a replace modification:

            replace: <attributetype>
            <attrdesc>: <value1>
            <attrdesc>: <value2>

       If no attributetype lines are given to replace, the entire
       attribute is to be deleted (if present).

       Or, for a delete modification:

            delete: <attributetype>
            <attrdesc>: <value1>
            <attrdesc>: <value2>

       If no attributetype lines are given to delete, the entire
       attribute is to be deleted.

       For a changetype of add, the format is:

            <attrdesc1>: <value1>
            <attrdesc1>: <value2>
            <attrdescN>: <value1>
            <attrdescN>: <value2>

       For a changetype of modrdn or moddn, the format is:

            newrdn: <newrdn>
            deleteoldrdn: 0 | 1
            newsuperior: <DN>

       where a value of 1 for deleteoldrdn means to delete the values
       forming the old rdn from the entry, and a value of 0 means to
       leave the values as non-distinguished attributes in the entry.
       The newsuperior line is optional and, if present, specifies the
       new superior to move the entry to.

       For a changetype of delete, no additional information is needed
       in the record.

       Note that attribute values may be presented using base64 or in
       files as described for entry records.  Lines in change records
       may be continued in the manner described for entry records as


       The following sample LDIF file contains a change record of each
       type of change.

            dn: cn=Babs Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
            changetype: add
            objectclass: person
            objectclass: extensibleObject
            cn: babs
            cn: babs jensen
            sn: jensen

            dn: cn=Babs Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
            changetype: modify
            add: givenName
            givenName: Barbara
            givenName: babs
            replace: description
            description: the fabulous babs
            delete: sn
            sn: jensen

            dn: cn=Babs Jensen,dc=example,dc=com
            changetype: modrdn
            newrdn: cn=Barbara J Jensen
            deleteoldrdn: 0
            newsuperior: ou=People,dc=example,dc=com

            dn: cn=Barbara J Jensen,ou=People,dc=example,dc=com
            changetype: delete


       The LDIF parser has been extended to support an include statement
       for referencing other LDIF files.  The include statement must be
       separated from other records by a blank line.  The referenced
       file is specified using a file: URI and all of its contents are
       incorporated as if they were part of the original LDIF file. As
       above, other URI schemes may be supported. For example:

            dn: dc=example,dc=com
            objectclass: domain
            dc: example

            include: file:///tmp/example.com.ldif

            dn: dc=example,dc=org
            objectclass: domain
            dc: example
       This feature is not part of the LDIF specification in RFC 2849
       but is expected to appear in a future revision of this spec. It
       is supported by the ldapadd(1), ldapmodify(1), and slapadd(8)

SEE ALSO         top

       ldap(3), ldapsearch(1), ldapadd(1), ldapmodify(1), slapadd(8),
       slapcat(8), slapd-ldif(5).

       "LDAP Data Interchange Format," Good, G., RFC 2849.


       OpenLDAP Software is developed and maintained by The OpenLDAP
       Project <http://www.openldap.org/>.  OpenLDAP Software is derived
       from the University of Michigan LDAP 3.3 Release.

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the OpenLDAP (an open source implementation
       of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) project.
       Information about the project can be found at 
       ⟨http://www.openldap.org/⟩.  If you have a bug report for this
       manual page, see ⟨http://www.openldap.org/its/⟩.  This page was
       obtained from the project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨https://git.openldap.org/openldap/openldap.git⟩ on 2023-12-22.
       (At that time, the date of the most recent commit that was found
       in the repository was 2023-12-19.)  If you discover any rendering
       problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe there
       is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

OpenLDAP LDVERSION             RELEASEDATE                       LDIF(5)

Pages that refer to this page: ldapcompare(1)ldapmodify(1)ldapsearch(1)slapd-config(5)slapd-ldif(5)slapd-sql(5)slapadd(8)slapcat(8)slapindex(8)slapmodify(8)slapschema(8)