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This page refers to CiviCRM 3.4 and 4.0, current STABLE version.

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Return to Import-Export Mappings or Data Management

Exporting Data

Data is exported in Comma-Separated Value (CSV) format.

When you EXPORT data from CiviCRM, it exports the data into a CSV (comma-separated-value) file.
For every contact a row is created with every piece of data for that contact separated by a comma. CSV files can be opened, viewed and edited in Excel and many other spreadsheet applications, as well as many database applications.

1. Perform a Search to find the contacts you wish to export. At the top of the list of records you can choose selected records only or all # records (# = the number of contacts that your search found). To select only certain contacts, use the checkboxes to the left of the contacts' names.

It is best to export Individuals, Organizations and Households as separate files. Although you can export Individuals, Organizations and Households all at once, due to the different fields used it is difficult to manage the data if the export files contains multiple contact types.

2. From the dropdown menu next to the Print button, Select the action Export Contacts.

3. Check your selection and then click the Go button.

4. This brings you to the Export Fields Screen, where you can choose which fields to export. Choose either Export PRIMARY contact fields or Select Fields for Export and click Continue.

Export PRIMARY contact fields

This option is easy to use and exports all standard CiviCRM fields, including primary address, email and phone number. If you need to export custom fields or additional location data - then use the Select fields for export option described below. If you choose to export PRIMARY contact fields, when you click "Continue" CiviCRM will generate the file and ask you where to save it. Choose a location to download the file, download it and you are ready to open the CSV file in MS Excel or other programs.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are exporting many thousands of records, you may find that the Export Primary Fields option takes too long, or even times out and fails to complete after many minutes of waiting. If so, you may find that the Select Fields for Export option, choosing only those fields you actually need, will download many times faster. On one hosting service, a download of 8000 records would not complete using Export Primary Fields, timing out after several minutes, but took only 10 seconds to complete with 15 specific fields selected using Select Fields for Export.

If you choose to Select Fields for Export, when you click Continue you will be taken to the Select Fields to Export window.

Follow the on screen instructions to first select the record type you wish to export. When you choose a record type, you will be shown a dropdown menu with all of the field names for that record type, as shown in the example.

Click on Select more fields if you want more fields than fit in the initial window.

When you have selected all the fields you want, click the Export button to begin the export. Choose a location to download the file, download it and you are ready to open the CSV file in MS Excel or other programs. The default file name is "CiviCRM_Contact_Search.csv"

To save these choices for future exports, simply check the box next to "Save this field mapping". When you check the box you will be asked to name and provide a description for the export.

You MUST then click on the *Export; button to save the mapping and export the file.* Clicking the Done button will not save the mapping.


Perform a search to choose contacts to export, choose Select fields for export.

If one or more export mappings have been saved during a prior export you will see, above the "Fields to Include in Export File" box, the choice to >>Load Saved Field Mapping.

Clicking on >>Load Saved Field Mapping will reveal a dropdown menu where you can choose from your saved mappings. Choose the saved mapping you wish to use and click on the "Load Mapping" button to load your saved choices. Proceed with the Export as usual.

Clicking the Done button returns you to the Find Contacts screen.


If you find that there are saved export or import mappings that are no longer needed - OR that need better mapping names assigned - you can delete or edit existing mappings.

Go to Administer CiviCRM. In the Configure section, choose Import/Export Mappings. You will be shown a list of the saved import and export mappings that you may edit or delete. See Import-Export Mappings

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