Working With Your Import File

Below is an example of how a CSV might look in a text editor. Notice there are commas (,) separating each column. The first row contains the heading for each column, and the rows below that contain the field values (or records).

For display purposes we recommend using Microsoft Excel to edit the CSV, but any text editor will work. From our experience, we have found that Numbers on Mac OS X does not handle CSV as well.

File Size

If you have a large CSV file (over 10MB), you could run into problems trying to upload it through the browser. If your file exceeds this size, we recommend splitting it into smaller chunks before importing.

Encoding Format

If your list contains non-English characters, make sure you save the file in UTF-8 format before running the import. Most text editors (e.g. Notepad, TextEdit) offer encoding options when you save the file.

Other Things to consider

Delete unnecessary columns

Many exports include additional columns with titles and empty columns. For usability purposes, we recommend deleting these columns, and any others you’re not wanting to import in to the system.

Date formatting

Check that you are using the correct date format. We support:

  • dd/mm/yyyy or

  • mm/dd/yyyy

Upon running the import script, you can tell the system which format the file contains.


Ensuring that each field is spelt correctly is critical for a successful import. For example, if you’ve created a People Category called ‘Church Members’, having an entry labeled ‘Church Member’, or ‘Members’ in the import file will not be matched accordingly. For this reason, make sure the term and its spelling in both the import file and the account are an exact match.

Specific requirements for different import types

Depending on what kind of import you’re running through the system (there are separate import scripts for People and Financial data, for example), there may be other more specific requirements to consider. For example, when importing people data through the People import script, there is a specific way to import family relationships and groups. Be sure to read through the corresponding import articles to ensure you’ve added incorrect formatting.

Perform a test before doing a full import

We highly recommend performing a test import before running large amounts of data through the system. This can be done by working with a sample of your import data – trialing the first 20 or so records. Running a test helps ensure that any changes or errors needing to be fixed can be performed before the import is complete.

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