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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, its limitations and other details.
A
Abdul Sameer
29 Nov, 2022 - Updated 2 months ago
Table of Contents

Introduction

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 do you Import data into Vtiger CRM?

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 to convert 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. 

Key Terminology

Delimiter

A delimiter is a character that separates fields in your local file. The CRM identifies different fields with the help of the delimiter.  

Headers

Headers are column names in your local file. They make mapping column values to CRM fields easy.

Character Encoding

Character encoding tells computers how to interpret digital data into letters, numbers and symbols by assigning a specific numeric value to a letter, number or symbol. 

Duplicate data

Duplicate data is any record that inadvertently shares data with another in the CRM.

Data Corruption

Data corruption is any unwanted file change during storage, transmission, or processing. Here it 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.

 

Prerequisites for Importing

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

  1. 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 in your CSV or VCF file being imported, then the field takes the default layout value, which is Lead.
  2. 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 size greater than 50 MB.
  3. Access permissions: You need access rights to import files. Make sure to have access before you start looking for Import. You can disable import access to non-admin users if you are an Admin user. 

Note

  • 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).

Importing Data 

Data can be imported into Vtiger CRM using the Import tool. You can access the Import tool from the Main Menu > Tools > Import or the module into which data has to be imported.

The following are three significant steps while importing data into the CRM:

  • Step 1: Select a data file.
  • Step 2: Mapping the columns of the data file to the CRM fields.
  • Step 3: Handling duplicate data.

Follow these steps to import data into vtiger CRM:

  1. Log in to your CRM account.
 
  1. Click the Main Menu.
 
  1. Go to Tools.
  2. Select Import. Import tool opens.
 
  1. Click +New Import on the top right corner of the screen. The New Import window opens.
  2. Step 1: Select a data file. Enter or select information for the following fields:
 
  1. Title: Enter a title for the new import.
  2. Select Module: Select a module from the drop-down into which data is to be imported.
  3. Import File Format: Select the data file format by clicking the corresponding Radio button.
  4. Has Header: Click the Checkbox if the data file has a header.
  5. Character Encoding: Select the Character Encoding by clicking the corresponding Radio button.
  6. Delimiter: Select the Delimiter of the data file by clicking the corresponding Radio button.
  7. Choose file: Select a data file from your local drive.
  8. Click Next.

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) imports only Calendar data such as Events and Tasks. 
 
  1. Step 2: Mapping the columns of the data file to the CRM fields. Enter or select information for the following fields:
 
  1. CRM Fields: Map Column Name in your data file to a CRM field from the drop-down.
  2. Default Value: Provide a Default Value for the fields from the drop-down.
  3. Click Save Mapping to save the custom mapping. (Optional)
  4. Click Next.

Note

  • Make sure the mandatory fields are mapped with a CRM field.
  • Default values are used when the value of a field is empty. In such cases, Vtiger CRM picks up the default value. (Not applicable for mandatory fields).
 
  1. Step 3: Handling duplicate data. Enter or select information for the following fields:
 
  1. Check Duplicates: Click the Radio button if you want to check for duplicate records while importing.
    1. Duplicate Check Fields: Select the field from the drop-down that will be checked to verify whether a record is a duplicate.
    2. Add New Records: Click the Radio button if you want to create new or unique records in the CRM. If there are duplicate records in your data file, they will not be imported.
    3. Add New Records and Update Existing Records: Click the Radio button if you want to create new or unique records in the CRM. If there are duplicate records in your data file, then the CRM records will be updated or new records will be created.
      1. Overwrite fields with any incoming blank values: The old value is replaced with duplicate values even if it is blank.
  2. Don’t Check Duplicates: Click the Radio button if you want to create new records in the CRM without checking for duplicates.
  3. Click Next.
 
  1. Review the field mapping by looking at the Preview Import window. The preview shows only a maximum of three records. 
  2. Click Start Import.
 

Note: 

  • 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 those set up under Settings > Module Management > Module Layouts & Fields > Duplicate Prevention.
 

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 imported, updated, and merged records. 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 new data. 

  • 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. You will see the error shown above when you try to import new records. 
  • 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 support@vtiger.com.

 

Import History


You can view the List View of import history by going to Main Menu > Tools > Import.

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

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

 

Field Name

Description

Name

It shows the title of the import.

Imported into

Shows which module records were imported into.

Imported by

Shows the name of the user who performed the import. 

File Name

It 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

It shows the time the import was last modified.

 

Import Records


Vtiger CRM creates import records every time you perform an import action. You can view the List View of import records by going to Main Menu > Tools > Import. Click the required record.


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 information of the created records. Records that are Skipped, Updated, Merged, etc., are not shown.

 

Fun Fact!

When you browse your local computer to import CSV files, you will see only CSV files in the browsing window. Files of other formats are not displayed. 

 

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, 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 to 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, then your local file must specify a value for the date field 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. 

  • Reference fields

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

For instance, if you are importing a contact record and a reference field 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, then the value is rounded off to 110.89. 

  • Picklist values

If a field of type ‘Picklist’ has a value that is present in the CRM’s picklist, then the new value is added to the CRM record and the value is 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 ensure that your CSV file's pipeline and sales stage values match the CRM values. 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 simultaneously. 

  • 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:
      • Products::::Product_Name
      • Services::::Service_Name
    • 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 CSV file will not be considered, as these fields depend on Item total, discount and taxes added to it. Other fields like Quantity, Selling Price, Discount, and Tax are 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 Date field is mandatory and does not have a value specified in the imported local file.
  2. When a Reference field is mandatory and does not have a value specified in the imported local file.
  3. When the line item fields –  Quantity and Selling Price –  are not mapped correctly.
  4. 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 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. 

Details such as the module, user, and the time at which the Import was locked are displayed by the error message.

  • 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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