By Mike Smith, The Resource Group
Keeping a customer database up-to-date can be a time-consuming, tedious task. While customer records can be individually opened and modified within Dynamics CRM, this is a very manual process which can consume many hours and is error prone due to individual record updates.
One of the features in
How to use the Import Tool in Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Update Existing Records:
In this example, I no longer want my Contacts in CRM to receive faxes. Therefore, I’m using the import tool to update all of the records where I am the Owner to no longer allow faxes. I will be using Advanced Find to find a subset of Contacts, export, make my necessary updates, and then import the changes into CRM to update the effected records.
To carry this out, perform the steps below:
- As a precautionary measure, take the necessary back-ups of the CRM databases.
- In CRM, select the record entity you want to update, in this case Contacts.
- Click on Advanced Find and either select an existing view or select [new] and set-up the necessary filtering criteria to identify the subset of records needed.
In this example, my advanced find view is pulling all contacts where the “Do not allow Faxes” field equals “Allow” and I am the owner. I will be updating all of these to “Do Not Allow”.
- Select Edit Columns and add/remove columns as needed for the attributes to be updated. In the example, I add “Do not allow Faxes” and “Owner” columns and remove “Business Phone” as it will not be used.
- With the filtering and columns set-up, select Find. The subset can then be verified and any filtering or column changes can be performed until the desired results are obtained.
- Click the Export to an Excel Worksheet button.
- Select Dynamic Worksheet and then Export.
- Once the file is open in Excel, Unhide the columns. This will expose the GUID of the entity you are working with. Insert a column to the left of column A, Cut and Paste the GUID column in the newly created A column. Change the (entityid) column header to the actual entity name, in this case “Contact”.
The file should look like this with the exposed GUID:
- Make the necessary changes to the attribute columns. In the example, I’m updating “Do not allow Faxes” from Allow to Do Not Allow. Once the updates are entered, save the worksheet as a CSV file.
- To import the file, go to Settings > Data Management > Imports. Create a new import, browse to the CSV file, and set delimiters. If you receive a “Columns Empty” error, open the file, select and delete the columns to the right of the data to be imported, save and try the upload again.
When done correctly, CRM should be able to automatically map the fields and an “Enrich data by updating existing records” button should appear in the window as you progress through the import wizard. To update existing records, make sure the “Enrich data by updating existing records” checkbox is checked:
- Continue through the import until completion.
- Use Advanced Find and record details to confirm the proper update:
*Note: Look-up attributes cannot be updated using this procedure.
Using the import tool in Microsoft Dynamics CRM to update existing records reduces manual data entry, saves time, and helps you maintain a clean and consitent database. Having accurate information about your customers and prospective customers is critical in the success of your business.
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By Mike Smith, The Resource Group –