Importing Data | Online Help - Zoho CRM

Importing Data to Zoho CRM

Data can be gathered through various sources such as, purchasing a record database, collecting from trade shows and campaigns, and so on. Importing records from such external sources to Zoho CRM is one of the most important lead creation activities in any business. For that reason, importing should be easy and should help you maintain clean data without duplicates.

You can import your data using either of the two options mentioned below:

Importing data to individual modules in Zoho CRM : Individual files can be imported, one at a time, to a specific module.

Migrating data from other accounts to Zoho CRM : The  Data Migration  wizard helps you to migrate data from other CRM systems to Zoho CRM. The wizard enables you to attach the CSV file of the module to be migrated and set the supported Date and Time format in the import file to avoid values being ignored during the migration. You can also ask Zoho CRM to notify you when the import is complete by selecting the  Send Email Notification  option. After the necessary details are specified, you will need to map all the mandatory fields in the CSV file with those in Zoho CRM.  See Also  Migrate Data

Permission Required
Users with Import permission in their profile can access this feature. 

Import Checklist

Before importing the data, please go through the following checklist:

  1. Permission 
    Make sure you have the access and privilege to Import data. If you do not have this permission, the Import link will be hidden in your user interface.
  2. File Format 
    The supported formats are  Excel (XLS, XLSX), Comma Separated Value (CSV), and Business Card or vCard  Format  (VCF) . All file attachments should be separated from the data.
    Unexpected errors may occur if the XLS/XLSX files contain any special controls such as combo filters or images embedded in them.
  3. Characters not allowed
    Any data for the file to be imported should not contain data enclosed in <script> </script>.
  4. Mandatory Fields 
    Each required (mandatory) field must contain a value. Make sure you do not leave any mandatory fields blank, in the import file. For instance, when you are importing account information, each account record must include an  Account Name . Please note that you cannot proceed to the next step without mapping the mandatory fields.
  5. Check box Data
    Make sure that the data you plan to import from Boolean or check box fields contain values that will properly convert during the import process.
    Imported data from Boolean and check box fields are converted as follows:
    • If check box is selected: True or 1
    • If check box is not selected: False or 0
  6. Drop-down List 
    All data values displayed in the drop-down lists must exist in the corresponding Zoho CRM fields.
    For instance, if you plan to import account information that contains a value for the industry type drop-down list, before you import the account information, make sure all the industry values in the source file already appear in the drop-down list. If the values do not exist, you must either change the values in the source file to match the existing values in Zoho CRM, or have your administrator add the new values.
    If values are not added in the drop-down list, data can still be imported. After importing, if you change the value for the field, you cannot change it back to the old one as it will not be available in the list.
  7. Field Names 
    Make sure the first row of data (records) in the source file contains the column headings or field names rather than the actual data values. These heading field name values help identify the data when you map the new data to the existing fields in Zoho CRM.
  8. Blank rows in the import file 
    More than 10 blank rows in the file might indicate the end of the file. Data after the blank rows will be ignored during import. Make sure not to leave blank rows in between rows of data.
  9. File Size 
    Make sure the file size does not exceed the following limits according to your edition of Zoho CRM:
    CSV files: Enterprise and Ultimate -  25 MB , Professional and Standard -  10 MB , Free -  5 MB.
    VCF files:  5 MB  for all editions.
  10. Rows
    Number of rows that can be imported depends on the edition:
    Standard - 10,000; Professional - 20,000; Enterprise - 30,000; Ultimate - 50,000.
  11. External field
    Any field present in the .CSV file can be mapped with an external field present in the CRM module. The value of the external ID field can be updated only through API. 

The modules along with their Zoho-defined mandatory fields are described in the table below. Please make sure to map these fields when you import. There maybe other mandatory fields in each module too, but you can always customize and mark the fields as non-mandatory, if required.

Mandatory Fields
Mandatory Fields
Last  Name
Case Origin
Account Name
Solution Title
Last Name
Price Books
Price Book Name
Deal Name
Closing Date
Product Name
Campaign Name
Vendor Name
  • Using the Import feature, you cannot import reports, invoices, quotes, purchase orders, forecasts, sales orders, and templates into Zoho CRM.
  • However, you can import events in ICS format from Calendar.
  • During the import, tag elements like <br> are not executed, and the text remains unchanged. To ensure proper line breaks, they must be inserted manually.

Import Limits

If the import file is in .XLS, .XLSX or .VCF format, you can import a maximum of 5000 records/batch for all CRM editions. However, to import more than 5000 records/batch your import file must be in .CSV format only, and the maximum number of records that you can import will vary according to your subscription.  

  • The supported formats are  Excel (XLS, XLSX), Comma Separated Value (CSV) and Business Card or vCard  Format (VCF) .
  • If your records exceed the specified limits mentioned above then you can split the records in two or more files and import them.
  • When you are importing a VCF file, the record image field will be automatically associated with the record during the import process and will not be available for mapping.

Import Data to a Module

Import all the records that are owned by (assigned to) the users in your organization, including the records owned by you.

To import data

  1. Click the appropriate [Module] tab (e.g., Leads, Contacts, Accounts, etc).
  2. In the  [Module] Home  page, click  Import Leads[Records] from Create Lead dropdown.

  3. Click  Browse to upload the file  or drag and drop the file in the From File section.
    The character encoding will be automatically detected.

  4. If needed, change the character encoding from the drop-down list and click  Next.

  5. Select the  Layout  into which you want to import the records.  See Also,  Page Layouts 
    If you do not have a layout created, the records will be imported to the standard layout and the option to choose a layout will not be available.
  6. Select one of the following options.
    • Add as new [Records] : Choose this option to import all the records in the import file to Zoho CRM.
      Select  Record ID  or  Email / Record Name  from the drop-down list. In order to avoid data duplication, you have this additional option to skip records from the file that match existing records in Zoho CRM. These can be filtered based on record ID, name or email address, as per the module.

    • Update existing [Records] only : Choose this option to make changes only to the existing records.
      Select  Record ID  or  Email / Record Name  from the drop-down list to find existing records that match those in the import file. This option helps you filter existing records that need to be updated. Additionally, you can choose to skip updating empty values in the records. For example: Say your CRM record has a value, Hospitality, for the field Industry and the import file does not have any value for the same field. When you import the data from the file and choose  Skip updating empty values,  then the empty value will not be overwritten and the Industry field value will be left unchanged. This will avoid the chance of any data loss.

    • Both : Choose this option to add new records as well as update the changes in the existing records.
      Select  Record ID  or  Email / Record Name  from the drop-down list to find existing records that match those in the import file. You have this option to filter existing records that needs to be updated. You can also choose to skip updating empty values from your import file to the records in Zoho CRM.
  7. Click  Next .
  8. Map fields from the import file to those in Zoho CRM.

    The data from the first three columns in the import file will be available. Based on these data, formats for a certain field will be added. This format can be edited, if required.
    • Click  Create New Fields , if you are in need of custom fields that are not already available in your CRM account.

    • Click Mapped and Unmapped  to view the columns that are mapped and not mapped respectively with the fields in Zoho CRM.
    • Click the  Reset Field Mapping  link to start mapping from scratch.
      Any mapping you have done so far will be removed and you can start over.
    • Click the  Apply Auto Mapping  link to let CRM map the import columns with matching fields.
      The system will identify columns that match the CRM fields and map them automatically. 

    • Hover over the field and enter the field values in the Replace Empty Values text box.
      Sometimes the field in an import file doesn't have a value, in case that field is marked mandatory in CRM, the record will not be imported because of absence of value. To avoid such situations, you can mention an alternate value that will replace the empty field. 
      For example, you have mapped the Last Name field from the file with the Last Name field in the Leads module, which is mandatory. So without the field value, the record will be skipped during the import process. To avoid that, you can specify the value that should replace the empty Last Name field. 
    • Hover over the field and click the Add (+) icon next to the field name and map multiple fields in CRM with a single field from the file.
      For example, if the Billing Address and the Shipping Address are same you can map both these CRM fields to the appropriate fields from the file. 
    • Click the Assign Default Values tab and select the CRM Fields with the appropriate Default field values. Once the values are specified, all the records will have the field value that you have specified by default.
      For example, you are importing a set of records to the Leads module where you want to define the appropriate Lead Owner and Tag the records that are imported. From the Assign Default Values tab you can select the Lead Owner and Tag Name field from CRM and choose the appropriate field values. This value will be added to all the records by default. 

  9. Click  Next.
  10. Select the Assign owner based on Assignment Rules checkbox and choose an assignment rule from the drop-down list or click  Create Assignment Rules to create a new assignment rule.
  11. Check Trigger automation and process management, to allow related actions to be performed on records that are created or updated through import.
  12. Select a task from the Assign follow-up tasks drop down list or create a new task by clicking Create Workflow Task.  
  13. Select the checkbox to  Enable Manual Lead Approval .
    The records will be manually approved by the admin before being assigned to specific users. This option is available for all pre-defined and custom modules.  See Also  Approve Records

  14. Click  Finish .
    The import action will be initiated. 
  • Select the  [Module ID]  from the  Find existing using  field, if and only if you are re-importing the records that were exported from Zoho CRM. The  [Module ID]  field is generated by Zoho CRM and is therefore unique to Zoho CRM. Hence, it is ideal to choose this as a unique field in cases when you want to export a set of records from Zoho CRM to a spreadsheet, make some changes to it and import the records again. In this case, when you choose the  [Module ID]  as the unique field and choose to update the existing records, the matching records are seamlessly updated. Choosing the  [Module ID]  as a unique field in any other case may cause duplication of records.
  • The unique fields are not case sensitive. That is, if the unique field's value in the import file is "ABC" and in the existing record, it is "abc", Zoho CRM will still identify this as a match.
  • Once the Import process begins, you cannot cancel it.
  • If you select a workflow task while importing, the  Notify Assignee  option in the selected workflow task, will not be applicable.
  • Default field values cannot be specified for the following fields:
    • Description

    • Call Duration

    • Auto number

    • Unique fields

    • Formula fields

    • Multi-select Lookup

  • Assigning default values for a field that is already mapped, will overwrite the existing field mapping that you have done.

  • The Trigger automation and process management option will be displayed only if there are less than 10,000 rows in the import file. If you are unable to view the option it means your import file has more than 10,000 rows.

  • The automation process may not necessarily complete once the records are imported. It may take time to complete the automation. 

Import data to a Subform

You can import subform entries in the modules of your CRM. Importing subforms is often more convenient than manually adding them into the CRM.
For example, an insurance company might store the details of their policy holders' dependents—such as name, age, gender, and relationship with the contact—in a subform within the Contacts module for easier access.
To get started, open the module into which you intend to import subform entries, click the Import Subform button, and then select from your computer the file which contains the subform entries. On the next page, you can select the layout (if any) in which the subform records will be added. You then choose either to add the records as new subform entries, update existing entries, or both, and then select which existing records should be skipped, if any.
    • Add as new subform: Choose this option to import the records in the import file as new entries in the module. In order to avoid data duplication, you have the option to skip records from the file that match existing records.
    • Update existing only: Choose this option to make changes only to the existing records. This option helps you filter existing records that need to be updated.
    • Both: Choose this option to update the changes in the existing records and add new records if there are any. This option filters existing records that need to be updated. You can also choose to skip updating empty values from your import file.

The last step is to map the columns in the imported file to the subform fields in Zoho CRM. The parent ID field is necessary during field mapping so that subform entries will be associated with the correct parent records.

Elements in a subform import file

Before you import values into a subform, it's important to have an import file in the format shown in the screenshot below, which also highlights some of the key elements that a subform import file must have.

Subform fields: These are the columns that contain the data to be populated in the subform. The import file must contain the fields that are marked as mandatory in the subform (if any).
Parent ID: This is the unique identifier field in the parent module that distinguishes each record. You can pick any unique field that you have in the module—or if the data was exported from CRM, use the system-generated Zoho CRM ID.

How to import a subform

  1. Click the appropriate module tab (e.g., Leads, Contacts, Accounts, etc.).

  2. In the Module home page, click Import Subforms from the Create Contact dropdown.

  3. Click Browse or drag and drop the file.

  4. Select one of the following options: Add as new subform, Update existing Subform only, or Both.

  5. Click Next.

  6. Map the fields from the import file to those in the subform in Zoho CRM.

  7. Click Next. The import will begin.

Import Notes

Many a time, you may face the need to write down notes for a lot of records at the same time. Sometimes the same note may need to be associated with multiple records. Instead of adding notes one at a time to each record, you can import them and get them associated with relevant contacts.

You can overcome this hassle by using the  Import Notes  feature offered by Zoho CRM. Simply export your existing records to a spreadsheet, add your notes in new columns and import the notes.

To import notes

  1. Prepare your spreadsheet (either exported from CRM or a new sheet) with your notes for each record. Make sure you have the  Note Title  and  Note Content  columns in your sheet. Apart from these two columns, the spreadsheet must have a column for one of the unique fields for the chosen module - Email, Record ID or any other unique field.
  2. In your Zoho CRM account, click the required module.
  3. Click the [Module]  tab .
    Module  refers to the tabs like Leads, Contacts, Accounts, etc.

  4. In the  [Module] Home  page, click  Import Notes .
  5. Browse  the import file and upload it.
  6. When the file is uploaded, click  Next.

  7. Map fields from the import file to those in Zoho CRM.
    The data from the first three columns in the import file will be available. Based on this data, formats for certain field will be added. This format can be edited, if required.
    • Click  Mapped  and  Unmapped  to view the columns that are mapped and not mapped respectively with the fields in Zoho CRM.
    • Select the  Reset mapped fields  checkbox to start mapping from scratch.
    • Click the  Apply Auto Mapping  link to let CRM map the import columns with matching fields.
  8. Click  Import .
    The import action will be initiated. Notes can be seen in the respective record's details page.

  1. The following permissions should be enabled in a user's profile to import notes:
    Create permission for Notes  under  Module Level Permissions .

  2. Import  Permissions  enabled for the respective parent module in  Profiles
    For example, even if a user has  Notes  creation permission but does not have  Import  permissions for Leads, he/she will not be able to import notes for leads. 

Import Users

Admins can import users to the CRM account using the Import user option. Their details can also be updated during import. See also Importing users.

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