Wherever your client’s data comes from, there is a good likelihood that it is available in .csv format. Centerbase’s built-in Import tool was built for .csv imports and gives a lot of flexibility for bringing in simple to complex data sets.
Before you begin the process of importing the data, it is important to make sure the data is clean and in the format that you want it to be in Centerbase. It is also important to create all relevant fields (with their appropriate field type) that you will be importing for each item type. Here are some important considerations for ensuring a clean import:
- Every column that you intend on importing, should have a column header to allow mapping it to Centerbase fields.
- Try to always include a unique identifier for every record (alphanumeric). This helps with merging records if you must re-import additional or incorrect data.
- Fields such as phone numbers or emails should be formatted in the final format that you would like to see in Centerbase. i.e. if you want the phone to appear as (123) 456-7890, it should be in that format. If you import 1234567890, Centerbase will retain that format.
- Boolean (True/False): Values should follow the following format – true/false or 1/0 (blank defaults to 0). Y/N will not work.
First, launch the Centerbase PC client, login using your Centerbase credentials, click the Centerbase icon in the upper left-hand corner then select Import. Note: you must have import privileges to use this tool. By default, administrators have this right.
This will open the Import Wizard, which like any wizard, walks you through the process of importing step-by-step. You will first need to select a data source, which needs to be in .csv format. Browse for a local file or use one that you have previously uploaded (this is good when you have a large spreadsheet and need to reimport specific pieces again).
In this example, we will import some contact data into our demo database. All imports are item specific, so you should set up imports separately for Clients, Matters, Contacts, etc. Do not retain multiple item types in a single .csv file. Find the file on your local computer and click Upload.
Once the file uploads, you will need to select how you would like to begin the import process. For your first import into a client database, we recommend using the third option: I would like to start from scratch and specify all the settings myself.
The next step is to map each column in the spreadsheet to a field in Centerbase. First, right-click in the Centerbase Items column and select Add an Item. Select the item that you would like to import and click OK.
The third column will then present all the fields available on that item (that’s why we suggest that you input all the fields you will need ahead of time). If there is a field you know is available in the system (i.e. you see it in the Item Manager or Form Designer) but it is not showing in this list, make sure it has been added to the Data View for this item. You can also add fields to that item from this dialogue by right clicking anywhere in the third column and selecting Add Field.
Once you are satisfied that Centerbase has all the fields you want to import, begin dragging the fields from the first column to their respective fields in the third column.
The field names will become bold (in both columns) and the CSV field will show to the right of the Centerbase field once the field has been mapped. If you accidentally mis-map a field, you can right click on it and choose Clear Mappings for this Field to reset it to un-mapped status.
Proceed to map as many fields as you need to import. If a field is not mapped to Centerbase, but is available in the spreadsheet, it will not be imported into Centerbase.
Sometimes, you may need to hard-code a specific field in Centerbase. This can be done by right clicking on the field in the third column and selecting Specify Value. You will then be able to specify the exact value that you want all records in this import.
Some fields that you import will be lookup fields, or a field on one record that links to another record (of the same or different item type). In this case, you can add it by right clicking on your main import item (middle column) and selecting Add a Linked Item.
You will need to add linked items for every lookup field you plan to import into the record. In this case, I have chosen Client as I have some client lookups available in my spreadsheet. The linked item will show up below and offset to the right of the main item being imported. Selecting the Client item, the third column will present all the fields available on the client record. Similar drag and drop options apply here as well.
Specify Merge Settings
Once you have mapped all the fields, click Next and you will be taken to the duplicate merge portion of the import. For your first import of an item, you will not need to complete any duplicate merging, but if this is additional data, you may want to merge duplicates to ensure you don’t have multiple of the same record. Each time this tool is used, Centerbase creates brand new records for each row, so subsequent imports should always have some merging involved (unless it is only new records).
You will need to select merging options for each item listed earlier (for me, I will need to complete it on Contacts and Clients) If available, merge based on the unique identifiers mentioned earlier. If you do not have a unique identifier, you may want to merge based on Name or something else that could be unique. There are 3 options for merging:
- Create new and merge matches: This option should be used when you have a mixed set of data. You may be importing new records and may be updating current records. Any record where a duplicate is not found will receive a brand-new record.
- Merge matches only: Any record that does not have a corresponding duplicate will not be imported. Only records that match on all matching fields will be imported.
- Ignore matches: Does not import records when there is already a duplicate found. Only new records will be imported.
There is also a check-box for Import blank fields, which looks at the blank fields on the imported records. In the scenario where the box is checked, a field that is blank in the imported record (due to it being blank in the import file) will overwrite the corresponding field in the existing record even if that field has data in it. When unchecked, a blank value in the imported record will leave the data in the existing Centerbase record.
Once you have everything the way you like it, you may choose to save the import. Click Settings in the lower left-hand corner of the wizard and click Save Settings. You can do this at any time during the import and is helpful in case you need to exit out at any point in time.
Ready to Import
When you are ready to import the data at last, click Validate. This will review the data you are importing for issues to ensure compatibility with the mapped field types.
If there are issues with your data, the validator will return specifics for you to fix. Once validation passes, then you are ready to import! Click Import and the process will begin. You can cancel the import up until the importer moves to the Commit phase. At that point, the Cancel button will be unavailable.
Once the import is complete, the duplicate merge will be presented for each item you set up a merge on. Any record with a yellow icon already exists in the database. Any record with a red icon is a new record. In general, if you are updating previously imported records, you want there to be a 1-to-1 relationship between the new and existing records. This will ensure that you are not accidentally merging unintended records. If you are worried about the merge criteria, you can select Match Criteria… in the lower left-hand corner of the Duplicates Workbench.
Review the data for any potential issues. You may add additional fields to the grid by clicking the icon. If you find records that should not be merged for whatever reason, you may select those records and choose Not a Duplicate.
Clicking OK in the lower right-hand corner will begin the merge. Be aware that the merge will overwrite the existing record data with the new import data. If there are records that need special attention, you may select them, right click and select Merge Wizard… which will allow you to choose which fields are not overwritten.
If there are other linked items that you are merging, another merge dialogue will open when this merge is complete.
If, for whatever reason, you want to cancel this merge process and import, clicking Cancel will give you the option to choose whether to keep the imported records. You will most likely want to choose to Abort the import and remove all imported data from Centerbase.
If you click the X in the upper right-hand corner of the Duplicates Workbench, Centerbase will default to Leave all imported contacts in Centerbase.