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Version: 50691 (openSuse - 09/10/07)

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Section: 5 (Format de fichier)


ldif - LDAP Data Interchange Format


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.BRldapsearch(1),readandwriteLDIFentry 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.


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 value.

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 lines.


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.


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 well.


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


ldap(3), ldapsearch(1), ldapadd(1), ldapmodify(1), slapd.replog(5).

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


OpenLDAP is developed and maintained by The OpenLDAP Project (http://www.openldap.org/). OpenLDAP is derived from University of Michigan LDAP 3.3 Release.