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Import Step 1 - Upload Data

Import Data File: Browse for the file that contains your CSV formatted data for import.

The size of the file you are importing MUST be less than 2MB. If your file is larger than 2MB, create additional files and distribute the data among them until the files are smaller than 2MB.

First row contains column headers - Indicate if your file has column headers in the first row (First Name, Last Name, etc.).

Contact Type - Indicate if the data is for Individuals, Households or Organizations.  See [Importing Households and Household Members]

You must import different contact types SEPARATELY.Importing files with more than one contact type will not work.

On Duplicate Entries - Indicate the action to take on if a contact duplicates an existing CiviCRM contact:

Skip - Reports and then Skips rows that duplicate existing data - leaving the matching record in the database as-is (default).

Update - Updates database fields with available import data. Fields in the database which are NOT included in the import row are left as-is.

Fill - Fills in additional contact data only. Database fields which currently have values are left as-is.

No Duplicate Checking - Insert all valid records without comparing them to existing contact records for possible duplicates.

Lookup mapping info during import? - Check this box if you want mapping information (coordinates) to be looked up and included for each location.

Mapping information: 50 record maximum

When a contact is added manually, CiviCRM will pass the street address, city, state and postal code to the mapping provider. The provider returns the latitude and longitude. Then when a map is requested the mapping provider uses those values to make the map. This process works well in small imports (50 records or less) but is slow in large imports. If you have a large number of records to import and want mapping information assigned for them, CiviCRM provides a batch script that can be run to after you've completed the import which will retrieve latitude and longitude data. (learn more...

Date Format - Indicate the format used for dates in the file you are importing.

Importing Phone Numbers

It is common to import different phone types (mobile, home, fax) for different locations. Your import file must have different phone types in different columns, then in the next step Match Fields, you must select the type next to the Phone field. You can then select any and all combinations of locations and phone types that you need.

Importing Multi-Select Fields

It is possible to import data for multi-select fields such as custom data. All of the items for the field you want to import must be in the same column in the import file. The items in the column for the multi-select field can use either the value or the label for each option in CiviCRM. These can be found at:
Custom Data -> View and Edit Custom Fields ->  Edit Multiple Choice Options
Example of data in import file:
First Name, Last Name, Important Issues (Custom Data)
"John", "Doe", "Education, Jobs, Health Care, Safety"

For the Multi-Select Fields above, Excel or OpenOffice CONCATENATE() function can be useful, and IF() statements can be used to make the commas between fields conditional like so: CONCATENATE(S2,T2,U2,V2,W2) where columns T and V are conditional commas with IF(NOT(ISBLANK(U2)),",","")

Click Continue>> to proceed. You will be taken to the "Match Fields" page.

Click Cancel to cancel configuring the import.

  1. Feb 16, 2014

    Why on earth is there such a tiny import file size restriction?  Where in the code can I find this restriction so that I can up it to something more reasonable like 20MB?

    1. Feb 17, 2014

      Questions like this belong on  Please search there first as the answer may already exist.  If not, please start a new topic.