Importing Data to Update a Record

This article covers how to import data to update fields in an existing record. You must be at least an Administrator to use the import feature


If you would like to update data that you have collected elsewhere and update/override data you have in Zengine, you can perform an import to update. Several steps must be taken in order to ensure that the data is formatted properly and that it matches the structure of the existing data in your workspace.

Preparing Your File for Import

First, you must export all of the data for the form which contains records that you'd like to update.  Learn about exporting here.

Next, you must take care to maintain the integrity of the exported data, such that you can import it back in correctly.  The format of the file to be imported is important and the data in the columns and rows must be consistent.  Before importing your data, read these guidelines below to make sure your data will import successfully.  

  1. Record ID: Because you are importing into pre-existing records, you must have the Record ID of each of those records such that Zengine can connect the data you are importing to the pre-existing records.  The Record ID should be placed in the first column of your spreadsheet.
  2. Header Row: The first row of your spreadsheet should contain the names for every column. 
  3. Mapping columns to fields: Please ensure that you have one column for every field on your form and no extra columns. 
  4. Order of columns: It is easiest when you order the columns in the same order as they appear on your form, although that is not necessary. 
  5. Consistent columns: Make sure the formatting is the same within any given column. A date column, for example, should only contain formatted dates. 
  6. Date Formatting: Dates should be in yyyy-mm-dd format. 
  7. State and Country Formatting: If you wish to import into Zengine state or country fields, then you must use these values. Otherwise, you should plan to import those fields into text fields or custom dropdowns where you provide the state or country names. 
  8. Format: Your file must be saved in .CSV format.
  9. Files: At this time, you cannot import files as part of a data record.
  10. Linked Forms: If the data you are importing contains a linked field to another form, you must put the Record ID of the linked form in the cell of your spreadsheet before importing in order to not overwrite any links that may be in place.  So if I have the form 'Schools' linked to Universities such that 'University Name' appears in the School's form, then I must put the Record ID of the related university in each University Name cell of the data you are importing.

NOTE: If you are updating an existing record by including a Record ID, any fields that are left blank in the Excel will be overwritten in the Zengine record with a blank value.

Importing Your File

Once you have prepared your file and saved it as a .CSV, it's time to import into Zengine.  Navigate to the Data tab on the navigation bar and go to the form into which you would like to import data.  In the top right corner, you will see a "Form Tools" button.   Clicking this will bring up a dropdown which includes the option " Import."

Clicking this will bring up a page where you will select your file.  Choose the .CSV file you have prepared.

At this point, the system will process your file. This will take a few moments. When this is done, the system will notify you, "We've got your file!" Press Continue to proceed.

At this point, you will need to map your data.  The first column contains the names of the headers, the first row in your imported data, while the second column contains a sample of the other rows in your imported data. The third column contains a series of dropdowns where the existing fields in your workspace are listed.  At this point, you must map each of the imported fields to an existing field in the workspace by selecting the appropriate field from each dropdown. Choose the '--Do Not Import--' option in order to preserve the data that already exists in the field without importing blank or different data over it.

When you have completed this, click the blue "Continue" button at the bottom of the page.

At this point, your import will be processed. This can take several minutes or longer, depending on the size of the file. You will receive a system notification when the import is completed, and you do not have to stay on the same screen to wait for it to complete.

Importing Into Linked Form Fields

When importing information into a linked form-field, you must use the Zengine ID corresponding to the field you're trying to link it to. To retrieve this ID, follow these steps:
1. Open your workspace and navigate to the form containing the linked records. (For example, if you have a Submissions form and Applicant form and are importing information into the Submissions form, the parent form, then you'll open the Applicant form to start)
2. Now we want to show the IDs for the linked records. To do so, use the Hide/Show columns button to show 'ID'.
3. You'll see the IDs as the first column of the record. Please note, the ID will only show up in the Data view, not within the record.
4. At this point, in order to prepare your file for import, you'll want to export your linked form. Once exported with the Zengine ID, you can use Excel or similar spreadsheet program to match the ID on the linked form, to the parent form you're importing. Once you do this, import your document and correct any errors you encounter.
5. Once imported, Congrats, the information will automatically link together.


If ALL your records/rows meet the criteria established they will all get imported.

If some of the records/rows fail in some manner you will get an error message about which row(s) failed. For instance, if the last name is required and one of your rows does not have the last name, that will fail. Or if one field is supposed to be a date and something else is in that cell in your spreadsheet, it will fail.

In that case, we will display which rows failed. You will then have the option to (a) cancel the import, fix what is wrong, and rerun the import OR (b) import the good rows (and then fix and import just the others at a later time).

If you continue to encounter problems, Zengine provides migration assistance. Contact us if you are interested in this service.

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