Save Valuable Time with the Export for Re-import Feature in CRM 2011

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Do you ever utter the words, time is money?   How often do you find yourself exporting a list from CRM to Excel, analyzing the data, making changes within the spreadsheet?  Now rather than going into each individual record to make that change you can simply reimport the information and update all the records at once.  With Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011  you can save valuable time, money, and resources by utilizing the export to re-import feature.

Andrea Lange, CRM Solutions Consultant explains that while she was on CRM support team this was one of the most common requests from customers.  To use the Export for Re-Import feature, you’ll need to understand how to do a standard data import.  If you need a refresher on how to do a standard data import, view the Using the Data Import Wizard video.

Andrea explains how to use the Export for Re-Import feature and includes a few tips along the way:

  1. All fields that need to be updated should be part of the view that you export.  We recommend using the Advanced Find feature so you can narrow down the records you need to update.
    1. Click Advanced Find and choose your search criteria.
    2. If you want to add a new field with your import, click Edit Columns and click Add Columns to choose which additional columns you want to add.
    3. You can also remove any unwanted columns so your file is easier to read and edit.
  2. Once you have the view you want, click Export to Excel.
    1. Choose the option to export Static worksheet with all records from all pages (if applicable).
    2. Check the box at the bottom to Make this data available for re-import by including required column headings.
  3. You will see a flag that shows we recommend to save the file before opening it; click Export and then Save the file.
  4. This file will again be saved in an XML format.    You will notice that the first column that your data appears in is column D.
    1. The first three columns are hidden and contain GUID (globally unique identifier) information and these are used to compare the lines of the Excel file with the data that exists in CRM.  These columns are to remain hidden so that CRM can properly read them during the import.
    2. These determine if a line was updated, and then only the updated lines are actually imported.  For example, if you export a file with 50 lines in it, but you only modify 10 of them, you will only see 10 records imported.
  5. Make any modifications you wish to the fields that need to be changed and save the file.
    1. You can add new records to the bottom of the Excel file.
    2. CRM does not recognize deleting data from the file; if you delete a record in the Excel file, the record will not be deleted from CRM.
    3. There are some columns that show Do Not Modify in the column heading; these columns are unable to be edited and you will receive an error if you try to modify the data in these columns.
  6. Complete the standard steps for using the Data Import Wizard and view the status of the import in the Imports area.

If you need assistance with data import, your CRM partner can assist you.  Contact DFC Consultants, Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner, at 701-281-6112 for your Microsoft Dynamics CRM support needs.

DFC Consultants is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and GP.  Since 1989, DFC has been providing accounting software solutions, training and support in our offices in Fargo, Bismarck and Dickinson, North Dakota. Our passion is to assist clients in meeting their goals with professional services and powerful business solutions.


By DFC Consultants, North Dakota Customer Relationship Management Partner

3 thoughts on “Save Valuable Time with the Export for Re-import Feature in CRM 2011”

  1. I am using CRM sdk to import a file. I export the data using CRM export functionality and save it in xml format for re-importing.

    However when i import the file via sdk code I get error as :
    The file could not be uploaded because the file format is not valid. Save the file in the XML Spreadsheet 2003 (.xml) format and then upload.

    However If I open the file in Excel and re-save it preserving the XML Spreadsheet 2003 format, the Import works successfully.

    Any pointers appreciated.

  2. thank you - this article was very helpful. I did this recently and had to redo 5 hours of work because I missed ONE little step that you nicely included in your instructions.

    "2.Check the box at the bottom to Make this data available for re-import by including required column headings."

    So for everyone out there reading this - don't miss this step!! It is crucial.

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