Importing Contacts from an Excel/CSV File

In this article we will cover how to import contacts from a document like an Excel sheet or CSV.

Best Practice Tip: It is not recommended that you import contacts to ActiveDEMAND from a file if you also have an import from your CRM configured. If you have a CRM import set up with ActiveDEMAND, upload your list to your CRM and let the CRM import handle bringing in your new contacts.

1. Under Contacts > Import Contacts you can upload a file containing a group of contacts to import into ActiveDEMAND.


2. Once you have chosen your file, click the 'Next' button:


3. The next screen will show you all of the columns in your Excel/CSV file. This is where you need to map these columns into the appropriate field in ActiveDEMAND. There are a few options on this field mappings screen pointed out below that we should be aware of and we will cover those next:


Update These Values: If a contact already exists, and 'Update These Values' is selected, this will overwrite any existing data in that field for the contact. For example, if I have a contact in ActiveDEMAND that has a field value of 'X', but this contact is on my uploaded list with a value of 'Y', the contact will now have a value of 'Y' in that field after the upload. The default setting for these checkboxes should work for most use cases.

Notice that the 'Update Existing Contacts' checkbox needs to be selected in order for this option to show for each column. Continue reading below. 

Update Existing Contacts: Removing this option from the import (bottom of screenshot above) will remove the 'Update These Values' checkbox from each column. This means no fields will be updated for any contact if they already exist in ActiveDEMAND. The default setting should work for most use cases.

These Values will be appended: This is not so much an option as much as it is a notification. There are some fields that ActiveDEMAND will not allow you to update from a contact import. Instead if there is new data in your upload for this field, we will instead 'Append' this data to the contact record. For example, if a contact already exists in ActiveDEMAND with one phone number, but you upload the contact with another phone number, we will not overwrite the old phone number. Instead we will add it to the record and the contact now has two phone numbers on their record.

My File Has Headings, Exclude First Row: If your file has headings like First Name, Last Name, Email, etc., then you will want to enable this option. It will ignore the first row of your import and not attempt to make a contact from this row of headings. If you do not select this and you have headings, then this will just most likely register a small error on the import as it attempts to import/create a contact from that first row, but it will not stop the import.


Filter Data / Do not filter: You have the option when uploaded to filter out contact records you don't want to include in your import. To do this, you first need to select 'Filter Data' from the bottom of the import mappings screen. This will expose an additional checkbox for each column that says 'Do not filter'. By unselecting the 'Do not filter' option, you can then set filters that will ensure only the contacts on your list you actually want to upload are included in the import. See screenshot below.


4. Once you are happy with your field mappings and and configurations, you can click the 'Start Import' button:


5. After clicking the 'Start Import' button, you should see the following screen:


Note: Imports can take some time to start working, especially large ones. For example in the screenshot above this import had 1801 lines. I would expect this to take some time to fully run the import. Even after the Import shows as Completed it can still take some time for the contacts to show in the list.

After some time you can come back and check the status of your import. If it is complete it might look something like this:

Screenshot 2021-11-22 16.39.14.png

Note: When the import is complete, it will have created a list under Contacts > Contact Lists that contains all of the contacts that were created on this upload. Updated contacts won't appear on this list.


What do the items in the screenshot above mean?

Total Records: This is the total number of line items on your CSV or Excel document including any headings.

Records Created: This is how many new contacts were created by the import.

Records Updated: This is how many existing contacts were found and updated as a result of your import.

Records Dropped: This shows you how many contacts were dropped from the update. Drops happen for one of two reasons:

1 - The contact(s) did not match the filter(s) set on the import or,

2 - Contacts did match the filter, but the fields were not set to update.

Errors: How many line items in your CSV/Excel document failed to create a contact. The most common reason for errors are due to some kind of data mismatch. For example, an email field expecting to see an email address, but the data in that particular cell is not in the format of an email address.

A very common error is when users upload a list of contacts that has headings in their file, but they do not select the 'My File Has Headings, Exclude First Row' option. The system attempts to create a contact from the first row, but the heading in the email field is not an email format so this first row fails to create a contact.

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