Import Members from File

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The Import Members area allows you to add, delete or update many Members at once. This is achieved by uploading Member information from a spreadsheet, text file or database on your computer. The import tool consists of several wizard screens that walk you through each step of the import.

On the first screen, you choose the type of import you would like to perform. There are two broad categories of imports: those which affect only those Members subscribed to a designated List in your Enterprise Site, and those which affect all Members of your Site regardless of their subscriptions. Subsequent screens in the wizard will be different depending on which type of import you choose and whether or not you are using Tags in your Site.

Please note that not all Enterprise Sites have access to the "Subscribe to Lists" and "Replace All Subscriptions for Lists" import options. If your Site does not allow these types of imports, and you need to import a list using one of these import types, please contact Fishbowl Client Support.

Imports that affect specific Lists:

  • Subscribe to Lists (Respect Subscription Status): Choose this option if you want to upload new Members and subscribe them to specific Lists, while simultaneously updating profile data (but NOT subscription status) for existing Members. Here are the detailed rules for this import: Imported Members who already exist within the Site will be updated with any supplied profile data, but their subscription status will not change. Imported Members who do not already exist within the Site will be added to the Site and subscribed to all Lists specified on the next screen.
  • Subscribe to Lists (Override Subscription Status): Same as "Subscribe to Lists (Respect Subscription Status)" described above, except that imported Members who already exist within Enterprise will be subscribed to the specified Lists, even if they are currently not subscribed. Use this option only when your import file--rather than Enterprise--contains definitive subscription status information for the affected Members. Here are the detailed rules for this import: Imported Members who already exist within the Site will be updated with any supplied profile data and subscribed to the Lists specified on the next screen. Imported Members who do not already exist within the Site will be added to the Site and subscribed to the specified Lists.
  • Unsubscribe from Lists: Choose this option if you wish to unsubscribe many Members from specific Lists. Here are the detailed rules for this import: Imported Members who already exist within the Site will be unsubscribed from the Lists specified on the next screen (if currently subscribed) and will be updated with any supplied profile data. Imported Members who do not already exist within the Site will be added to the Site but will not be subscribed to any Lists.
  • Replace All Subscriptions for Lists: Choose this option if you wish to remove the subscriptions of all Members to specific Lists and replace them with subscriptions for only those Members contained in your file, on the assumption that your import file contains complete and authoritative subscription data. Here are the detailed rules for this import: Imported Members who already exist within the Site and who are subscribed to the Lists specified on the next screen will be updated with any supplied profile data. Imported Members who do not already exist within the Site will be added to the Site and subscribed to the specified Lists. Members who exist within the Site but who are not among the Members being imported will be unsubscribed from the specified Lists. No Members will be deleted from the Site.

Imports that affect all Members:

  • Delete Members: Choose this option if you wish to completely delete many Members. Here are the detailed rules for this import: Imported Members who already exist within the Site will be deleted. Imported Members who do not already exist within the Site will be ignored. All supplied profile fields except EmailAddress will be ignored. IMPORTANT: Under normal circumstances, Members should be unsubscribed from all Lists rather than deleted.
  • Update Member Profiles: Choose this option if you wish to update Member profile information (such as names or e-mail addresses) without changing any List subscriptions. Here are the detailed rules for this import: Imported Members who already exist within the Site will be updated with any supplied profile data. Imported Members who do not already exist within the Site will be added to the Site but will not be subscribed to any Lists.

Preventing Enterprise from overwriting profile data for exiting members:

You can prevent Enterprise from overwriting existing member profiles by modifying the file you import. Including two preceding and two trailing underscores around a column name in the file being imported will set that profile field value for any existing members who do not have that field populated, but existing members with that profile field already populated will NOT have the field overwritten. Including one preceding and one trailing underscore around a column name in the file being imported will NEVER set that profile field value for any existing members, even existing members who do not have a value in that profile field. EmailAddress, the only required field for import, is the only field that does NOT allow the use of the underscores.


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Steps for importing a List:


Screen 1: Import Members
Choose from one of the import options above and click "Continue".
Screen 2 Choose Tags for Import (Optional)
If you are using Tags in your Site, then you will have the option of selecting Tags to Assign or Tags to Unassign as part of your import process. If you are not using Tags, or if you have selected the Delete Members import type on the previous screen, you will automatically skip this screen and proceed directly to Screen 4. If you do not wish to assign or unassign any Tags as part of your import, select Continue without making any Tag selections on this screen.
Screen 3: Choose List for Import
If you chose one of the List-specific import options, then you will need to choose one or more Lists on this screen. For example, if you chose "Subscribe to List" on the previous screen, then you will need to select the Lists to which you want to subscribe Members. If you chose one of the import option which does not affect specific Lists, then you will automatically skip this screen and proceed directly to Screen 4.
Screen 4: Upload Your Import File
On this screen, you select the file you want to upload from your computer and begin the upload process. Your input file must be in one of the following three formats:
  • A Microsoft Access database (Access 97 format or newer). Member data must appear in a table named Table1.
  • CSV (Comma-Separated Values) text file using commas as separators and double-quotes as delimiters, and with the first line consisting of column headers.
  • A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (Excel 97 format or newer) in which the first row consists of column headers. Member data must appear in a worksheet named Sheet1. Excel 97-2003 formats (but not Excel 2007/2010) are limited to 65,536 rows in total size. Excel spreadsheets are not recommended for import because they exhibit undesirable data conversion characteristics (for example, stripping leading zeros from zip codes).
You are also provided with the option of downloading a blank Access, CSV, or Excel template file. This is not required, but the template may be useful in ensuring that your import file is properly formatted. The columns included in the template file will match the current profile fields for your Site.
Regardless of the file type you choose, the field names in your file must match the field names listed on the page. There are required and optional fields listed. Your file must contain all of the required fields. For example, the field "EmailAddress" is required for all imports, and your file must contain a field called "EmailAddress" containing the e-mail addresses of the Members you are importing. If, for example, your file contains a field called "E-mail" which contains e-mail addresses, then the import will fail because the field name in your file does not match the field name in Enterprise.
Your file can contain all, some or none of the optional fields.
If your file contains any fields which are not listed on the page, the import process will fail.
Once you are certain that your import file is properly formatted, press the "Browse" button at the bottom of the page. This will allow you to browse to the file on your computer. Once you have selected the appropriate file, click the "Import" button to begin the import process.
Screen 5: View the Status of Your Import
This screen provides you with an ongoing status report on your import. It will automatically refresh every 10 seconds to give you the latest status on your import. If you navigate away from this screen during the import, your import will continue but you will not be able to view the status. The following information is displayed on the status screen:
  • Begun: The time at which the import was initiated.
  • Finished: The time at which the imported either successfully completed or failed.
  • Processed: The total number of Member records processed during the import.
  • Errors: The number of records which generated an error (see information on the Error Log below)
  • Updated: The total number of existing Members whose profile information was updated with data contained in your import file.
  • Inserted: The number of new Members added to the Site.
  • View Error Log: If your import generated errors, a link to the error log will be visible. Common errors include invalid e-mail addresses and invalid column names. Some of these errors (such as invalid column names) will cause the import to fail completely, before importing any Member data. Other errors, such as invalid e-mail addresses, will only cause specific rows to not be imported.
For each List that is targeted by the import, the following information will be displayed:
  • List: The name of the affected List.
  • Subscriptions Before: The number of Members subscribed to this List before you began the import.
  • Subscriptions After: The number of Members subscribed to this List upon completion of the import.