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Article ID: KB321
Keyword Name: Import, Spreadsheet, Contacts, Upload, Emails, Data, CSV
Created: September 22, 2020
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Running an Import of Contact Data from Excel into your Database - Basic Overview

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Author: Joel Kristenson

Last Updated: 2020-09-22


This article walks through the steps to import a basic contact list from spreadsheet.

There are a few best practices along the way, but if you have any questions/concerns, or this if this is your first time importing please feel free to call our live tech support for assistance.

We also offer the additional services options where we can import a new list for you or append/refresh data such as an NCOA/CASS append. Open a new session of your database prior to running an import, if the import goes awry it will be easier to roll-it-back.  Also, make sure you set a Source Attribute during the import process which makes it easy to find the list you imported and verify the results, it’s also beneficial if you bring in emails and need to send in a request for us to enable them for mass email campaigns.


First prep your spreadsheet and save it as a .csv file type.  My example is below with basic information related to contacts i.e. Address, Contact Info, Attributes, and User Fields.  You may end up bringing a lot more or a lot less information than what I did in this example but most of the more common if is covered below with the appropriate column headers named in such a way that they will auto-map during the import.

Img 1 of 3 – Mapping a Contact Spreadsheet in Excel for Importing

Img 2 of 3 – Mapping a Contact Spreadsheet in Excel for Importing

Img 3 of 3 – Mapping a Contact Spreadsheet in Excel for Importing

Take a look at the Related Resources section below for links to example spreadsheets to use as a starting point as well many other import related articles and videos to get help on correctly mapping your column headers.

Once your spreadsheet is prepped you’ll need to save it as a .csv and close the file.  In this example I called mine ‘2016-04-21-contact-list-for-trail-blazer-from-sales-force.csv’ as shown in the images below.

Img 1 – Save the Spreadsheet

Img 2 – Select a Location on your Machine to Save the File, Give it a Name, and Save it as a .csv File Type

Img 3 – Click [Yes] if Prompted when Saving as a .csv File Type

Next you’ll need to close the .csv file to be able to import it into your Trail Blazer database.  Click the red [x] in the upper-right.

Excel will likely prompt you with a warning to save the file again, if you are certain you have saved it in the previous steps you can click [Don’t Save] (which is what I did in this case), but if you aren’t certain, you can overwrite your other .csv file by saving again in order to finish closing the program.

Once saved and closed your file should look similar to my finished example below.

Log into your Trail Blazer database, and navigate to the Contacts (Voters/Donors) list.

Click the File Drop-Down Menu near the top-middle of your screen and select Utilities > Import

Make sure that the Import File Type is set to ‘From CSV (Comma Delimited Text)’ and that ‘Add/Update Contact Records’ is select from the Type drop-down.

Click [Browse], select the .csv file you saved in the previous steps, and click [Open]In my example it was located in my Temp folder.

Click the [+ New] button to create a Source Attribute.

Create a distinguishable source attribute name and click [OK]Some common ways to name this is to include the date, the data source, and your initials.  If the import requires multiple passes you may want to categorize each ‘pass’ accordingly.

Once all the steps are complete for the 1st part of importing click [OK] to move onto the 2nd part which included Column Mapping and the Pre-Import Check.

This will open up screen 2 of 3, check the box in the upper-left to ‘Merge*IF you want to merge any new contacts with pre-existing contacts in your database (if it’s an exact match), then click the [Match Columns] button.

Note: For a merge to occur the record must match by Unique ID, Name + Email, or Name + Full Address.  You can also search for possible duplicates after the import and merge them together within your database.

You’ll likely get a pop-up message warning you that if you are Wi-Fi that you verify you have a steady internet connection, if the internet gets interrupted it will cause the import to fail.  Click [OK] to proceed, and optionally check the box if you don’t want to get this pop-up message again.

If you are running an import with many columns you can drag the top and bottom of the screen up and down to make it easier to view.  My example is below.

Map your spreadsheet columns (the ones on the left) to the Trail Blazer columns (the ones on the right).  If you previously mapped them without spaces in your spreadsheet they should automatically map, otherwise you’ll need to select the appropriate field from the drop-down.  This article provides a guideline for most of the fields in the database and what the column title needs to be to auto-map.

Img 1 of 2 – Column Mapping for Contact Data for Importing

Img 2 of 2 – Column Mapping for Contact Data for Importing

Once you finish the column mapping click the [Pre-Import Check] button which will scan your .csv file to check for any issues that will cause the import to fail (errors) and any other data you may want to cleanup prior to importing (warnings).

Once your file is free of any errors, click [OK] to proceed.

Click [OK] again on the column mapping screen.

*If you are importing an address(s) you’ll get another screen for the address mapping i.e. Mailing, Work, Home, etc.  Check the corresponding boxes for the type of address(s) you’re bringing in and click [OK]In my example I brought in a single address that I mapped to Home/Default Display/Mailing, you can always adjust these check boxes once the data is in if necessary.

The import will commence, you’ll get a status screen that displays how many records have been created, updates, as well as any errors that are taking place.  If you are getting errors that weren’t caught during the pre-import check you’ll want to pause and cancel the import to fix the original data set.  My example is below.

Once the import is complete you’ll get a screen that displays the results, click [OK] to finish.  My example is below where 11 records were imported with 7 new records created and 4 updates to existing records.

To view the list of data you imported open a new Contacts (Voters/Donors) list, navigate to the Attributes tab, the Source folder, check the box for the new source attribute you created during the import and click [Search]In my example it produced 11 contact records that were either created or updated.

If the import was a success you’re finished.  If it went awry you can roll-it-back with the rollback utility.

It’s also a good idea to close down your database and relaunch it before starting on any other work.  If you imported emails you’ll need to send in a request to our support address ( requesting that those get enabled and provide the source of where the list came from.

Take a look at the related resources below for a plethora of other information on prepping and running imports.

Related Resources

Article: Import Templates

Article: Field/Column Mapping When Importing Voter/Donor Data

Article: Pre-Import Check

Article: Importing Contributions

Article: Start Import – Importing Data From Access – Add/Update Voter

Article: Rollback – Undo Function

Article: Import Information – Definitions and Column Data Type

Article: Log Notes vs User Fields vs Attributes

Article: Exporting from QuickBooks and Importing Contribution Records into Trail Blazer

Article: How to Configure your RDP (Remote Desktop) Settings on a PC to Allow Access to your Clipboard, and Disk Drives

Article: Importing Pledges – Best Practices

Article: Importing District Information – from Non Registered Voters

Article: Export Outlook Contacts

Video: Importing 102 Importing your first list

Video: Importing 101 What to avoid

Video: Importing 102 Merge or Do Not Merge during import

Video: Attributes – Import with Date and Value

Video: Excel- Leading0s – Retaining When Opening CSV Files In Excel

Video: Importing Contributions

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