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Importing Data into Vtiger CRM

Learn about the easiest way to get your data into Vtiger CRM - importing - how it works, what are its limitations, and other details.
30 Nov, 2021 - Updated 8 months ago
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If you have a file on your local computer and want to transfer the data in the file to the CRM, Import is the way. 

With Vtiger CRM, you can import files in .csv, .vcf, and .ics formats.

Why would you use Import?

Let us see some examples.

  • You were at a trade show and managed to grab positive leads. You also saved this information on your laptop. To ease the process of managing and converting these leads, you can import them into Vtiger.
  • During the bi-annual audit, you found that your sales rep has stored updated information of all your contacts on your local computer. You now want to replicate the information in the CRM. You can easily use Vtiger’s import feature to import this updated information into the CRM. 

Feature Availability 

Sales/Help Desk Starter

Sales/Help Desk Professional

Sales Enterprise

All-in-One Professional

All-in-One Enterprise

Feature Availability


Prerequisites for Importing

Before you start importing files, make sure you have checked for these prerequisites:  

  • Mandatory fields
Your local file in .csv, .vcf, or .ics format must have all the data to fill the mandatory fields of the CRM. Non-mandatory fields can remain empty. For example, the Lifecycle Stage field in the Contacts module is mandatory. If a value is not specified for it in your CSV or VCF file being imported, the field takes the default layout value,’ Lead’.
Points to remember
  • A warning is shown when mandatory fields are not mapped. You cannot proceed without mapping them.
  • If your local file does not provide a value for a mandatory field, then the default layout value of the field is used. (The default value is/can be specified in Settings > Module Management > Module Layouts & Fields.)
  1. File size 
The size of the local file that you are importing must not exceed 50 MB. You will not be able to import files of a size greater than 50 MB.
  3. Access permissions

To import files, you need to have access rights. Make sure to have access before you start looking for Import.
If you are an Admin user, you can disable import access to non-admin users.


Importing Records into a Module

You can go to Import by going to Main Menu > Tools > Import
​​​​Follow these steps to import records: 

Step 1: Go to the Import screen

  1. Log in to your CRM account.
  2. Click the Main Menu.
  3. Go to Tools.
  4. Select Import.

Step 2: Select a file to import

  1. Click +New Import.
  2. Enter a title for the import process.
  3. Select the module into which you want to import files.
  4. Select the format of the file you want to import and the Header.
    • Note: Headers are column names in your local file. They make mapping column values to CRM fields easy.
  5. Choose a Character Encoding type.
    • Note: Make sure the Character Encoding matches that selected in the local file you’re importing.
  6. Choose a delimiter.
    • Note: Delimiter is the character that separates fields in your local file. The CRM identifies different fields with the help of the delimiter.  
  7. Click Choose file to browse through your computer.

Note: Vtiger CRM supports .csv, .vcf, and .ics file types for importing.  

  • CSV (Comma-Separated Values) files are used to import records into any CRM module.
  • VCF (Virtual Contact File) is used to import only Contacts.
  • ICS (iCalendar File) is used to import only Calendar data such as Events and Tasks. 
  1. Select a file and click Open.
  2. Click Next.

Step 3: Set up field mapping 

Use this step to map fields in your local file to the fields in Vtiger CRM. Fields that have the same names in the local file and CRM are mapped automatically. 

  1. Map Column Name in your local file to a CRM Field in the CRM. 
  2. Provide a Default Value for fields.

Note: Default values are used when the value of a field is empty. In such cases, Vtiger CRM picks up the default value.

  1. Click Next.

Step 4: Set up Duplicate Handling

What will you do if a record that you are importing is already present in the CRM? Vtiger’s Duplicate Handling feature will sort it out for you. You can begin by checking if there are duplicate records.

  1. Check Duplicates
  1. Select Check Duplicates if you want to check for duplicate records while importing.
  2. Select the field name that will decide whether a record is a duplicate.
    • Select Add New Records if you want to create new or unique records in the CRM. If there are duplicate records in your local file, they will not be imported.
    • Select Add New Records and Update Existing Records if you want to create new or unique records in the CRM. If there are duplicate records in your local file, then the CRM records will be updated with the field values specified in the duplicate records.
  1.   Don’t Check Duplicates.
  • Create new records in the CRM without checking for duplicates.
  1. Click Next. The Preview Import window will open.
  2. Review the field mapping by looking at the Preview Import window. The preview shows only a maximum of three records. 
  3. Click Start Import.


  • You will not see the Duplicate Handling step when importing records into Inventory or Users.
  • You will not see the Duplicate Handling and Field Mapping steps while importing ICS files.
  • Fields shown by default in the Duplicate Handling step are set up under Settings > Module Management > Module Layouts & Fields > Duplicate Prevention.

Other actions you can perform in the Field Mapping step

  • Save a mapping
  1. Click Save Mapping.
  2. Click New Mapping.
  3. Enter Mapping Name.
  4. Click Save.
  • Update a saved mapping
  1. Click Save Mapping.
  2. Select the saved mapping that you want to update.
  3. Click Update.
  • ​​​​​​Load a saved mapping                  
1. Click Load Saved Mapping 
2. Select the saved mapping that you want to load (or view).

Import Summary: Results of importing  

After an import process is successful, you will get a summary of the import process. The summary provides details such as the number of records that were imported, updated, and merged. You will also see the records that were skipped and the records that the system failed to import. 

  • Click Finish if you have no more records to import. 
  • Click Import More to import other records. 
  • Click Undo to remove the imported records from the CRM. 

When an import is complete, you must click Undo or Finish to start importing a new set of records. 

  • If you click Undo, the current import status is set to Reversed. You must go to the import record and click Undo or Finish to start a new import process. If you try to import new records, you will see the error shown above. 
  • If you click Finish, it means the import was successful, and you can start importing new records.

Handy information!

You can import data from other CRMs into Vtiger CRM with the help of Migration. It is a paid service offered by Vtiger CRM. To learn more about Migration, contact [email protected].

Import History

When you land on the Import module, you will see the import history. Details such as who imported records, which module records were imported into, etc., are shown in the history, grouped into columns.

Refer to the following table for the details available in the import history:


Field Name



Shows the import title

Imported into

Shows which module records were imported into

Imported by

Shows the name of the user who performed the import 

File Name

Shows the name of the local file that was imported

Import Status

Shows the status of the import process

  • In Progress: The import process is in progress
  • Completed: The import process was completed successfully
  • Reversed: The import process was undone (using the Undo button)
  • Failed: The import process failed due to some error

Modified Time

Shows the time the import was last modified

What an Import Record Contains

You can view import records by going to Main Menu > Tools > Import.

Vtiger CRM creates import records every time you perform an import action. An import record provides the list of records that were imported along with the following details:

  • The name of the user who imported the file
  • The module into which records were imported
  • The name of the imported file
  • The type or format of the imported file
  • The status of the import process

The summary of the import process and details of field mapping are displayed on the right. 


Note: Import records of ICS files show only details of the created records. Records that are Skipped, Updated, Merged, etc., are not shown.​​​​​​


Notes on Importing

  • Assigned To field

Assigned To fields in your local file must have the First Name and Last Name or the Username of the users to whom the records must be assigned. If Assigned To is empty, then the records get assigned to the user who imports them.

To learn more about CRM fields, click here. 

  • Time fields

If there is a field of type ‘Time’ in your local file and no value is specified for the field, then the CRM displays the value ‘12:00 AM’. 

  • Date fields
  • The format of the Date fields in your local file must match the format specified under My Preferences in the CRM. Otherwise, the fields are left blank in the CRM on importing.
  • If there is a field of type ‘Date’ in the CRM and it is a mandatory field, your local file must specify a value for the date field and in the format specified in the CRM. Otherwise, the import process will fail.
  • Multi-Select Combo Box fields

To import a field of type ‘Multi-Select Combo Box’, you must specify values in your local file in the format: value1 |##| value2 |##| value3 and so on. This field is case-sensitive. 

To learn more about CRM fields, click here.

  • Reference fields

If your local file provides a value for a Reference field and there is no record with the same value in the CRM, then a new record is created.

For instance, if you are importing a contact record and a reference field is in Contacts is Organization Name, a new organization record is created if the value specified in Organization Name does not exist in the CRM. All mandatory fields in the Reference record are set to ‘????’.
Also, the import process fails if a Reference field is mandatory and does not have a value specified in the local file.

  • Decimal numbers

Fields of type ‘Decimal’ take the decimal value that is configured in My Preferences

For instance, if a Decimal field in your local file has the value 110.8856 and the number of decimals is set to ‘2’ in My Preference, the value is rounded off to 110.89. 

  • Picklist values

If a field of type ‘Picklist’ has a value present in the CRM’s picklist, then the new value is added into the CRM record and stored in the CRM’s picklist field.
A picklist field in a CSV file can have a maximum of 1000 values. Also, special characters like <, >, ", {, }, [, ], \n, etc. are not allowed in picklist fields.  Import throws an error if there are more than 1000 values or special characters in a picklist.

  • Pipelines and sales stages

When importing records, you must make sure that pipeline and sales stage values in your CSV file must match the values in the CRM. Otherwise, Import will throw an error.

  • Other notes
    • You cannot import records into two separate modules at the same time. Also, you and another user cannot import records into the same module at the same time.
    • If you have more than 1000 records in your local file, your import will be scheduled immediately, and an email notification will be sent to you after the import is successful. 

Notes on fields in the Inventory module

  • Line Items
    • Line item names in your local file  (file being imported) must be the same as the names used in Products or Services.
While mapping, line item names are searched in the Products list first and then in the Services list by default. To make your work easy, prefix line item names with ‘Products’ or ‘Services’ in the following format:



  • The Line item fields – Quantity and Selling Price – must be mapped correctly from your local file. Otherwise, the import will fail.
  • If two records with different line items have the same Subject, then only one record is imported. The other record is skipped.
  • Specifying the Items Total, Pre-Tax Total, Received, Balance, and Grand Total in the CSV file will not be considered. These fields depend on Item total, discount, and taxes added to it, other fields like Quantity Selling Price, Discount, and Tax added to it.
  • Taxes
    • Tax values must be in Percentage format only. 
    • Tax mode must be mapped and specified (Group or Individual) correctly. If not specified, the CRM takes the default Tax Mode.
  • Discounts
    • Discounts can be applied to individual line items or a group of line items (Overall Discount). Specify values only for the type of discount that you want to apply.

Import fails in four cases: 

  1. When a Reference field is mandatory and does not have a value specified in the local file being imported
  2. When the line item fields –  Quantity and Selling Price –  are not mapped correctly
  3. In the following cases when importing Users:
  1. Users already exist
  2. Password and Confirm Password fields do not match
  3. Empty values for mandatory fields and no default values are specified

Common Import Errors

  • Data Corruption 

Vtiger CRM throws this error when the import is interrupted because of reasons such as a system crashing or cancelation by a user. 
The error indicates that the import table still has pending records, but information related to the import process, such as field mapping, default values, and duplicate checks, is lost. These records will not be imported further. The user needs to clear the import data before starting another import.

  • Import Locked (in cases of a large number of records, say 1000)

Vtiger CRM throws this error when an import has already started on the same module by another user. The error message displays details such as the module, user, and the time at which the Import was locked.

  • Import Interrupted (in cases of a large number of records, say 1000)

Case 1: Admin user is importing
If a standard user attempts to import records when an admin user has an import process running in the same module, then the standard user can see details of the import and gets the Import Locked error.

Case 2: Standard user is importing
If an admin user attempts to import records when a standard user has an import process running in the same module, the admin user can see details of the current import. He also possesses the privilege of canceling the import. 

Consequently, the Import Interrupted error will be displayed to the standard user. 

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