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Create Active Directory Users from CSV with PowerShell

We want to create new Active Directory users in the organization. We can use the user creation wizard in Active Directory Users and Computers to create the users. What if you need to create 1000+ users? Doing it by the wizard will take a lot of time. In this article, you will learn how to create Active Directory Users from CSV with PowerShell.

Before you start to create Active Directory Users from CSV file

Let’s say you need one minute to create a new user with the wizard. It will take one minute for every user. What if you have to add a thousand new users? Do the math, 1000 users * 1 minute = 1000 minutes. That is approximately 16 hours. A bit too much time to spend on creating new users, right? What if you can simplify the process and do it much faster in time.

In the article, we are going to use the following files:

File Info
NewUsersSent.csv The spreadsheet template that we sent to HR
NewUsersReceived.csv The spreadsheet that we received from HR
NewUsersFinal.csv The updated final version to import
Add-NewUsers.ps1 The PowerShell script that will create the user accounts

Create the CSV template

First, we need to make sure that we have a list of all the thousand users we need to create. The most important information that we need is the first name and last name. We suggest to create a CSV file and send it to a user in the company.

We are going to send the CSV file to Jane. Jane works in the HR department at the company called EXOIP. She does have the information regarding the thousand users that need a new AD user account. The CSV file that we send to Jane is NewUsersSent.csv. Jane will fill in the data, just like discussed, and send the CSV file back to us.

Create Active Directory Users from CSV with PowerShell Excel NewUsersSent

We told Jane to put as much information she can in the fields. If she can’t fill in all the fields, not to worry. The most important is the First name and Last name. We also told her to leave the Password and OU field empty. Why did we tell her that?

  • Password field, leaving it empty because the IT department will create the passwords. Even if it’s a temporary password. When the user logs in, a prompt will show up to change the password.
  • OU field, leaving it empty because the IT department will fill in the Organizational Unit (OU). That’s where the new Active Directory (AD) Users are going to be created.

Edit the CSV file

Jane sent the CSV file back with all the information. Let’s open the NewUsersReceived.csv file and have a look.

Create Active Directory Users from CSV with PowerShell Excel NewUsersReceived

All is looking great. Jane did fill all the information that we need.

Generate passwords

Generate passwords for the users and fill the password fields for every user. I recommend generating passwords with Manytools password generator. You can create a maximum of 9999 passwords at one time. After that, copy and paste the passwords in the column Password.

Fill in the Organization Unit (OU)

Start Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) and make sure to enable Advanced Features. Click the menu View and click Advanced Features. Now that Advanced Features is enabled, we can proceed further and create the OU in AD.

We can see in the CSV file that the users are going to work in the IT department. We will create an OU in Active Directory with the name IT.

Right-click the OU with the name IT and click Properties. Click the tab Attribute Editor. Find the attribute distinguishedName. Double-click on it and copy the value. The value in my example is OU=IT,OU=Users,OU=Company,DC=exoip,DC=local.

Create Active Directory Users from CSV with PowerShell get distinguishedName

Place the value in the fields under the column OU.

Create Active Directory Users from CSV with PowerShell Excel fill OU

When done, save it as a new CSV file. Go to File and click Save As. Give it the file name NewUsersFinal.csv. Save it as type CSV UTF-8 (Comma delimited) (*.csv). Click the button Save.

Create Active Directory Users from CSV with PowerShell Excel save as Final CSV UTF-8

The NewUsersFinal.csv is created.

Create Active Directory Users from CSV with PowerShell Excel NewUsersFinal

Place the NewUsersFinal.csv in the C:\Temp folder on the Domain Controller or the Management Server.

Check the CSV file

Before using the script, import the CSV file in PowerShell. It’s an excellent way to check if it’s readable and if you’re all set.

Good to know about delimiter

Is the delimiter showing as a comma or semicolon in the CSV file? You need to know that if you are going to use the PowerShell script in the next step. If you use the semicolon as a separating character in your CSV file, add the delimiter parameter -Delimiter “;” to your Import-Csv cmdlet.

Run PowerShell as administrator. Use the Import-Csv cmdlet to read the CSV file. If it can’t read the CSV file, remove the -Delimiter parameter. It will be Import-Csv C:\Temp\NewUsersFinal.csv | Format-Table.

For more information, read Import CSV delimiter PowerShell.

Prepare the Add-NewUsers PowerShell script

Download the Add-NewUsers.ps1 script and save it in path C:\Scripts on the Management Server or Domain Controller.

  • Line 5 is the path of the CSV file. Change the path if you place the CSV file in another path. In our example, it’s C:\Temp\NewUsersFinal.csv.
  • Line 5, remove the -Delimiter parameter if you have a coma separating character instead of semicolon in your CSV file. In our example, it’s the semicolon character.
  • Line 8 is the UserPrincipalName (UPN). Change the UPN to yours. In our example, it’s

Run the Add-NewUsers PowerShell script

Change the directory path to C:\Scripts\ and run the script Add-NewUsers.ps1. The script will run and create Active Directory users in bulk. When done, press Enter to exit the screen.

If the user already exists in AD, you will see the following.

Have a look in ADUC. The users are created successfully in the OU.

Create Active Directory Users from CSV with PowerShell check created users in AD

Did this help you to create Active Directory Users from CSV with PowerShell?

Keep reading: Bulk move AD users to another OU with PowerShell »


In this article, you learned how to create Active Directory Users from CSV with PowerShell. At first, prepare the CSV file and make sure all the information is filled in. When you have the final CSV file, import the CSV file in PowerShell to check if it’s readable. Adjust the two lines in the Add-NewUsers.ps1 script, as shown in the article. Run the script to create the users in AD. The last part is to check if the users are created successfully in ADUC.

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ALI TAJRAN is a passionate IT Architect, IT Consultant, and Microsoft Certified Trainer. He started Information Technology at a very young age, and his goal is to teach and inspire others. Read more »

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Muchas gracias por la información Ali, super bueno el aporte, sin embargo me sale un error al ejecutar el script:

    PS C:\Scripts> C:\Scripts\CreateUsersSSO.ps1
    En C:\Scripts\CreateUsersSSO.ps1: 11 Carácter: 10
    + foreach ($ User en $ ADUsers) {
    + ~
    Falta el nombre de variable después de foreach.
    En C:\Scripts\CreateUsersSSO.ps1: 11 Carácter: 29
    + foreach ($ User en $ ADUsers) {
    + ~
    Token ‘)’ inesperado en la expresión o la instrucción.
    + CategoryInfo : ParserError: (:) [], ParentContainsErrorRecordException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : MissingVariableNameAfterForeach

  2. Hi, i get following error messages after the Accounts have been successfully created:
    Get-ADUser : The search filter cannot be recognized
    At C:\Users\x.ctue\Desktop\Create_ADUser_Bulk.ps1:29 char:9
    + if (Get-ADUser -F { SamAccountName -eq $username }) {
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (:) [Get-ADUser], ADException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : ActiveDirectoryServer:8254,Microsoft.ActiveDirectory.Management.Commands.GetADUser

    so you have any sugestions?

    Thanks in advance.
    Chris Turk

  3. thank you Ali for the amazing material.

    it works great however the Country will not be inserted in the AD User Properties.
    I’m using AD 2012 R2

    I have tried to add countrycode (380 in my case) for Italy in your script but I get errors

    1. You’re welcome, and I am glad you followed the steps to create AD users with PowerShell. That will save you some time.

      After having a look, I adjusted the CSV file and the PS script. I sent it in a .zip file to you by email. Let me know if that worked!

      I will update the article this week with these changes.

      One more thing, use “IT” as the country code for Italy.

  4. Hi
    Have you any idea what this is then I run the script?
    Thanks //marsk

    Read-Host -Prompt “Press Enter to exit”
    cmdlet New-ADUser at command pipeline position 1
    Supply values for the following parameters:

    1. Hi Martin,

      Did you import the CSV in PowerShell to verify that it’s correct?

      Import-Csv C:\Temp\NewUsersFinal.csv -Delimiter “;” | Format-Table

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