The Dynamics 365 Data Import Wizard

Data Import Wizard in Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is equipped with a tool to make it easy for you to import data into your system. It’s called the Import Data Wizard. Supported files include .csv, .txt, .xml, and .xlsx. You can also import a ZIP file containing any of the supported file types.

Jump to the following sections to learn more about working with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM data import wizard:

Best Practices for Working with the Data Import Wizard

A little preparation can go a long way to making your data import more successful. There are several things you’ll want to know before you run the import data wizard:

  • Know the location of the file you’re importing
  • Know the delimiter settings of the import file. These are characters that indicate the boundary between fields. For example, each value is separated by a comma in a comma separated file, otherwise referred to as a CSV file.
  • Know how source columns match with Dynamics 365 fields. Knowing this will help with mapping the data. These are used as the basis for matching a source column header in the import file with the Dynamics 365 destination field. For example, if you have a column in the import file called Surname, it would be mapped to Last Name in Dynamics 365.
  • Know the type of record you’re importing.
  • Know any data type requirements and restrictions within CRM for Dynamics 365. Know if a field allows only numbers or has a maximum amount of characters.
  • Since you may be associating your imported records with existing records in CRM, it pays to know the exact contents of the main field within the related file. For example, if you need to associate a contact with a parent account, then ensure the parent account name is identical to the one in the import file.
  • Know the size of the import file. It cannot be greater than 8MB unzipped or 32 MB zipped.

Working with the Import Data Template

The Import Data Template automatically opens in Excel in XML format, which is supported by the import wizard. It provides all the fields located in the main Dynamics 365 form of the record. Each column header corresponds to a field within CRM. This means you can save time by using the automatic mapping feature of the import wizard. The template includes values for picklists as well as descriptions and data guidelines for each field.

The import template sets restrictions based on the data requirements within Dynamics 365. This means you cannot provide a non-existent value in a picklist, exceed the character limit for fields, or enter text in a number field. This prevents import errors, saving you potentially a lot of time in troubleshooting.

You can paste existing data into this file from data sources provided by a third party or exported from another system.

Creating a Data Import Template From CRM
  1. Navigate to the record type you want to upload.
  2. Click on Import Data in the ribbon and choose Download Template for Download.
  3. You will generate an XML file named for the chosen entity. Save it locally.

Working with the Data Import Wizard

Here are the steps for using the Data Import Wizard. (If you want a more detailed step-by-steps with screenshots, please refer to the blog on The Data Import Wizard.)

  1. Click on Import Data in the ribbon.
  2. Browse to the file you want to import.
  3. Choose your delimiter settings.
  4. Choose your data map. Options include:
    1. Default. This will try to automatically map the import file headers with CRM field names.
    2. Customized Data Maps. With option, you can choose data maps you have already saved from previous imports.
  5. In the Map Record Types screen, you can choose between two options:
    1. Create New. This creates a new entity.
    2. Record Types. This creates records in the chosen entity.
  6. In the Map Fields screen, you can map source columns to Dynamics 365 fields.
  7. In the Review Settings and Import Data section,
    1. Choose Allow Duplicate Detection. This results in the import using the duplicate detection settings to prevent the creation of duplicate records.
    2. Select Owner for Imported Records. If the owner isn’t set in the import file, then you can set it to the same owner here.
    3. Data Map Name: Naming your data map allows you to save it for future use. This is recommended if you frequently get data from the same source using import files with unchanged formats from file to file.

Checking the Import Status

  1. Navigate to Settings and under the System column click on Data Management. In the new window, click Imports.
  2. In the grid, double-click on the name of the file you just imported.

Working with the Add Contacts Wizard in Outlook Client

One of the ways you can import data into Dynamics CRM is using the Import Contacts Wizard in Outlook. This tracks contacts from Outlook using the Dynamic CRM Outlook client.

Here are the steps for adding contacts using the Add Contacts Wizard in Outlook:

1. To navigate to the wizard, in the Outlook client, navigate to File and click on CRM. Click Import Contacts, and Import Data.

2. Click Next in the dialog box. The wizard will analyze your contacts and present some results. You will need to choose the group type and groupings.

3. Click Add Contacts. This will import your Outlook contacts according to your specifications.

Using Excel Reimport

If you want to make changes to your data, one method is to exporting data into an Excel file, clean up your data locally, and then reimport the data back into Dynamics 365. If you do this, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Even though you’ll save the file you export from CRM to your local drive, do not reuse it. Make a new export for each import you plan to do. The exports are for one-time use only.
  • All the unique identifiers for a record are stored in the first three columns of the Excel sheet. These are hidden. Do not attempt to change data in these columns, or CRM will not know which record to update.

Tip! For more details and a walkthrough on this topic, refer to this blog on how to mass edit records using Microsoft Excel.

Additional Resources for Importing Data