Importing contacts from another system
The first thing you need to do to get started is to get your contacts in the system. You can add your contacts in manually by clicking on Add Contact, and then filling out this form for each of your contacts. It’ll take you about a minute for each contact, and you might want to consider hiring a temp or a helper, or your kid, to help you through this process. The other way to get your contacts in is to bring them over from your old system. Let’s go to Settings and Import Data. By the way, this video will show you how to do a Basic Import. If you want to bring over Notes or Special Fields such as Categories and Flags from your old system, you’ll also want to watch the Advanced Import Video.
Let’s click on Import Contacts. Now, the first thing you’re going to need to do is to get your data out of your old system into a CSV format. There are thousands of other systems out there, so I can’t tell you exactly how to do that, but look for something in the old system like Settings or Utilities or Tools, and there should be an export function, and you should be able to export your data out into a CSV format. If they don’t allow you to export it into a CSV format, you’ll probably be able to get it into an Excel format, and from Excel, you can turn it into a CSV file.
Here’s what your average run-of-the-mill data looks like in an Excel format. Please keep in mind that you have to have clean data coming into the system. If you have garbage in these fields … And when I say “garbage,” I mean characters and data that’s not supposed to be in the fields. If the data’s not clean, the import’s not going to come over correctly. You’ve heard the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”? That’s what we’re talking about here. We have clean data here, so let’s save this Excel file into a CSV format. I’m going to click on File, Save As, and go down here to Save as Another File Type. Here are all the file types I can use, and I’m going to save it as a CSV MS-DOS format. Now this box pops up, just warning me that I’m saving it into a non-Excel format, and that’s exactly what I want to do, so I’m going to say yes.
Now my exported file is in the correct format, which is CSV. Now that our exported file is ready to go, let’s upload it here. If you are part of a team, you can assign these contacts to one of your Team Members. You can also Categorize these contacts here, add a Flag to this import, and click Next. This is our Field Mapping Assistant that looks at the incoming data from your old system and tries to map it to the fields in our system. You will see here that we have a field coming over called First Name. That one is pretty easy, and the mapping assistant has guessed the correct field from the drop-down list. In fact, the mapping assistant has guessed all the fields correctly in this data file: Last Name to Last Name, Birthday to Birthday, Home Phone to Home Phone, and so on.
Some data files are not so obvious for the system to guess. In any case, be sure to look at the data carefully and make sure the fields are mapped correctly. Some data files do not include column headers at all, just data. For these files, the system won’t even try to guess, and you will just pick the correct field from the drop-down list. Once all the fields are properly mapped, click the Import button. This screen confirms your import. At this point, you should check your contacts and make sure they were imported correctly. If there were problems with the import, go to Settings, and then Delete Import Batches, and here you can delete the batch you just imported and try it again.
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