Importing A CSV file in People

Use our CSV import tool to import or update many profiles at once. View the necessary steps to import a CSV file, as well as provide some troubleshooting tips and accepted fields. If people in your CSV match existing people in your Planning Center account, their information will be updated according to the information in the CSV file.

Importing is available to Managers and Administrators only.

CSV files can be opened in any spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, Numbers, or Google Sheets. Many systems generate CSV files with some unnecessary data in them, so make sure everything looks okay before starting your import.

When you've made changes to the spreadsheet, be sure to export it as a CSV file and not an Excel or Numbers file.

Accepted Default Fields

These default fields already exist in People. You can import all this information by making sure your information is listed as outlined in the Accepted Answers column.

If your Localization setting shows the date format in DD/MM/YYYY, follow that formatting instead of the MM/DD/YYYY.

Accepted Fields Accepted Answers
Given Name Any Text
First Name Any Text
Nickname Any Text
Middle Name Any Text
Last Name Any Text
Birthdate any combination of:
YYYY-MM-DD
MM/DD/YYYY
MM.DD.YYYY
follow the formatting from your Accounts Localization Setting
Anniversary any combination of:
YYYY-MM-DD
MM/DD/YYYY
MM.DD.YYYY
follow the formatting from your Accounts Localization Setting
Medical Notes
Any Text
Household ID names, numbers, or a combination of both
Household Primary Contact TRUE
only include next to Primary Contact; do not include False next to those who aren't
Grade -1 to 12 (where -1 is Pre-K, 0 is Kindergarten)
1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.
Pre, Kindergarten, Kinder, First, Second, Third, etc.
not case-sensitive
School Type Elementary, Middle School, High School, College, Other
School Name Must match school names exactly
Gender M/F
Male/Female
not case-sensitive
Child Y/N
Yes/No
True/False
1/0
not case-sensitive
Barcode Any Text
Status Active/Inactive
Inactive Reason Moved, New Church, Deceased, Divorced, or custom
is case-sensitive
Marital Status Single, Married, Widowed, or custom
is case-sensitive
Membership Unassigned, Member, Attender, Guest, Outreach, or custom
is case-sensitive
Name Prefix Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, Dr, Rev, or custom
is case-sensitive
Name Suffix Jr, Sr, Ph.D, I, III, or custom
is case-sensitive
Background Check Cleared Y/N
Yes/No
True/False
1/0
not case-sensitive
Background Check Date Completed any combination of:
YYYY-MM-DD
MM/DD/YYYY
MM.DD.YYYY
follow the formatting from your Accounts Localization Setting
Background Check Expires On any combination of:
YYYY-MM-DD
MM/DD/YYYY
MM.DD.YYYY
follow the formatting from your Accounts Localization Setting
Background Check Note Any Text
Home Email Any Text
multiples can be separated by a semicolon (;)
Work Email Any Text
multiples can be separated by a semicolon (;)
Other Email Any Text
multiples can be separated by a semicolon (;)
Home Phone Number any length, with or without dashes
multiples can be separated by a semicolon (;)
Work Phone Number any length, with or without dashes
multiples can be separated by a semicolon (;)
Mobile Phone Number any length, with or without dashes
multiples can be separated by a semicolon (;)
Pager Phone Number any length, with or without dashes
multiples can be separated by a semicolon (;)
Fax Phone Number any length, with or without dashes
multiples can be separated by a semicolon (;)
Skype Phone Number any length, with or without dashes
multiples can be separated by a semicolon (;)
Other Phone Number any length, with or without dashes
multiples can be separated by a semicolon (;)
Home Address Street Line 1 Any Text
Home Address Street Line 2 Any Text
Home Address City Any Text
Home Address State abbreviation or full name
Home Address Zip Code Any Text
Work Address Street Line 1 Any Text
Work Address Street Line 2 Any Text
Work Address City Any Text
Work Address State abbreviation or full name
Work Address Zip Code Any Text
Other Address Street Line 1 Any Text
Other Address Street Line 2 Any Text
Other Address City Any Text
Other Address State abbreviation or full name
Other Address Zip Code Any Text

Anything you put in a field will be imported; in addition, if you leave the field blank, any information already listed in your account will be blank.

If you need to import any information other than what is listed in the Accepted Fields column, you will need to first create a custom field.

Households

To import families, each family member needs his or her own profile in the CSV. Link the profiles together using the Household ID column made up of letters or numbers. As long as that ID matches for each member in the family, they will be linked together in a household. A couple things to keep in mind:

  • Household ID only exist in the current import: once you process the import, that household ID is not saved in the person's profile.
  • Only people in the current file will be affected by the household ID; keep your family members together in the same CSV file.
  • As long as everyone is listed on the CSV file, and they all have the same household ID, the household will be updated.

During the preview stage of the import, you will be able to see how many households will be created and how many will be updated. If you select the changes that will be made to the right of the person's name, you will see the household name, who will be made the primary contact, and how many members will be in that household.

Remote ID

Before a new record is imported by CSV, the importer first checks to see if the profile being imported already exists. If we find an existing profile with a matching first name, middle name, last name, and suffix, the importer will update that profile instead of creating a new one. In some scenarios, especially when importing data to Planning Center from another system, this may not be exactly what you need.

In that case, we recommend you use the Remote ID field. The Remote ID is intended for storing a user's ID from another system. When you match a column in your CSV to Remote ID, the normal method of matching rows will be skipped, and, instead, the importer will only check for matching remote IDs when deciding if a row in the CSV corresponds to an existing person or is a new record.

The Remote ID column in your CSV file must be named remote_id.

Processing the Import

To import a CSV file, select the gear icon on the People tab and then Import People.

On the next screen, select Start New Import and then choose your file to upload. Once you've uploaded your file, begin matching the fields from your file with the fileds in People.

Only import a .csv file; .excel and .numbers files will not import.

Matching Fields

Match the columns in your CSV file to the fields in People, so we put the information in the correct place.

  1. Know which step you've finished (green check), which you're on (green dots) and which steps are next (gray dots).
  2. Verify the fields match up with the correct column name from an example of what is listed in your CSV file.
  3. If you do not want to import a particular column, select Not Used.
  4. If you accidentally uploaded the wrong file or noticed from the examples that you missed some information, replace the CSV with the correct file.

Once you've verified each filed, click Preview Import.

Previewing

After you match your fields, you will be given a chance to preview all changes in a list: new profiles that will be created or updated, households that will be created or updated, any errors the importer found, and all the records that are identical.

  1. By default, all records in all tabs will be selected to be created or updated. If you do not want to update or create a particular record, uncheck the box next to their name. If you want to skip all the records in a tab, you can select Ignore All.
  2. You can download a CSV of all the records in a tab. If you have any errors in your file, download the CSV from the Errors list to make adjustments and re-import later. That CSV will help you easily nail down the errors and the incomplete data will not be imported to your account.

Select Finish Import to process your import and either update or create all profiles that were selected.

Common Errors

If you receive an Oops! message, you probably have a blank column header in your CSV file.

Either title to column header or deleted it completely.

If you do not want to import data into a particular field, exclude that column from the CSV. Leaving it blank, adding dashes, or typing N/A in that field will replace the existing data in People with blank information, a dash, or N/A. To keep information already entered in Planning Center, leave out the field entirely.

If you have a panic moment and think the CSV file isn't correct, or some of the information from the tabs isn't what you expected, you can undo the import.

  1. Choosing Undo This Import will not remove any new profiles that were created during the import; it will only remove information that was updated.
  2. If you want to completely reverse the import (including all the people that were created), you will need to email our support team by clicking the ?.
    Please include the following from your Import Page:
    • Name of the CSV file
    • Date of import
    • Time of import
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