Import or Sweep
Before you import your private keys consider whether sweeping them might be better.
Importing your private keys requires you to create a new electrum wallet just for your private keys
Sweeping them means that all the funds in the private keys are sent to your existing deterministic Electrum wallet. This is a one-time on-chain operation.
Unless you expect to receive money in the future to the addresses corresponding to your private keys it is better to sweep them. Sweeping private keys sends the funds to your deterministic wallet and backing that up is as easy as writing down the seed mnemonic.
However if importing is what you want to do then read on for the guide
Importing private keys into Electrum
These instructions are for Electrum 3.0 and later. Please upgrade first if you are using an older version of electrum.
You cannot import private keys into an existing HD wallet. Importing private keys requires you to create a new wallet file that will only contain the imported private keys.
- Start new electrum wallet file by following this short guide. Then come back here and proceed to step 2.
- Click on next to see the wallet type selection window:
As you can see Electrum supports different types of wallets. Just select “Import bitcoin addresses or private keys”.
- And then you paste in your private keys in the box that it displays on the next screen:
Enter one private key per line. Electrum supports mini private keys and full sized keys in Wallet Import Format (WIF).
Note: if the addresses in the source wallet begin with 3 you have to prepend “p2wpkh-p2sh:” to each private key before importing it. If the addresses begin with bc1 then you prepend “p2wpkh:”. Click on the info button to see examples.
- Electrum will then display your wallet window:
That’s it. You’re done!
If you need help with your Electrum problems see the support forum links here.