Importing A CSV file in People

To import or update many profiles at once, you can use our CSV import tool. This is especially helpful when you are migrating data to PCO People from another system. This tool is available to Managers and above.

This article will show you 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, you will have the option to update their information instead of creating a duplicate record.

What your .csv file should look like.

CSV files can be opened in any spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, Numbers (Apple), or Google Sheets. Many systems will generate CSV files with some unnecessary data in them, and it's a good idea to 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.

 

Common Errors

1) If you are receiving the "Oops!" message above, chances are you have a blank column header in your CSV file. You will want to add a title to that column header or delete it completely.

2) If you do not want to import data into a particular field, exclude that column from the CSV leaving it blank, adding dashes or N/A to that field will replace the existing data in People with the new content. Note: anything in that field will be imported, so if you have a dash in the phone number field, their phone number in the system will be "-", if it is left blank it will override the existing data within the database.

Accepted Default Fields

Accepted Fields Accepted Answers
Given Name
Any Text
First Name Any Text
Nickname Any Text
Middle Name Any Text
Last Name Any Text
Birthdate YYYY-MM-DD, MM/DD/YYYY, MM.DD.YYYY, YYYY-M-DD, M/DD/YYYY, M.DD.YYYY(or any combination of)*
Anniversary YYYY-MM-DD, MM/DD/YYYY, MM.DD.YYYY, YYYY-M-DD, M/DD/YYYY, M.DD.YYYY(or any combination of)*
Medical Notes Any Text
Household ID names, numbers or a combination of both
Household Primary Contact
TRUE (only include true next to the primary contact, do not include False next to those who aren’t)
Grade -1 to 12 (-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 (or custom**) is case sensitive
Marital Status Single, Married, Widowed (or custom**) is case sensitive
Membership Member, Regular Attender, Visitor, Participant, In Progress (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
YYYY-MM-DD, MM/DD/YYYY, MM.DD.YYYY, YYYY-M-DD, M/DD/YYYY, M.DD.YYYY(or any combination of)*
Background Check Expires On YYYY-MM-DD, MM/DD/YYYY, MM.DD.YYYY, YYYY-M-DD, M/DD/YYYY, M.DD.YYYY(or any combination of)*
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 (TX, Texas)
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 (TX, Texas)
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 (TX, Texas)
Other Address Zip Code Any Text

* If your Localization setting is set to have the date format in DD/MM/YYYY, you would need to follow that formatting instead of the MM/DD/YYYY.

These are all the default fields that already exist in People. You will be able to import all of this information without any additional work. If you need to import any information other than what is listed in the table above, you will need to first create a custom field.

Households

To import families, you will still want to make sure that each family member has their own profile in the CSV. You can then link the profiles together using the Household ID column. This can be 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 you are processing (once you process the import, that household ID is not retained in the person's profile)
  • Only people in the current file will be affected by the household ID. If you split up a large CSV into multiple files to import and household person1 is in the first file and household person2 is in the second file, they will not be placed in a household together. You will need to keep your family members together.
  • If you want to add someone to a household that already exists in your account, you will need to add ALL household members to the CSV file. Even the ones that are already imported. 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 continually syncing 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 in 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`.

Custom Fields

Custom Fields & Tabs allow you to store your own custom information. To import data into these custom fields, the data in your CSV should follow this formatting guide:

Field Type Format
Notes
Text Any text up to 1,000 characters.
Paragraph
Any text up to 65,000 characters.
Date MM/DD/YYYY Dates in other formats will be ignored.
Yes/No yes / no / true / false Case insensitive.
Dropdown Any existing option for the field. The value must be an exact, case-sensitive match of an existing option for your the specified field.
Checkboxes Any combination of existing values, separated by a | . The values must be exact, case-sensitive matches of existing options for the specified custom field.
Number Any number
File No supported Bulk importing file fields is not currently supported.

Processing the Import

Importing

To import a .csv file, you'll want to select the gear icon on the People tab, and then select Import People.

On the next screen, select the option to Start New Import and then choose your file to upload. You'll need to make sure you've saved your file as a .csv, not an .excel or .numbers file.

Matching Fields

Matching Fields

Match the columns in your CSV file to the fields in People. This is how we know where to put each bit of data from your CSV file.

  1. We show you the progress of your import at the top of the screen, so you know exactly which step you're on.
  2. Double check that the fields match up with the correct column name. We show you an example of what is listed in your CSV file.
    If you do not want to import a particular column, select Not Used.
  3. If you accidentally uploaded the wrong file or noticed from the examples that you missed some information, you can always replace the CSV with the correct file.

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, profiles that will be 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 to download a CSV of all the records in a tab. This is helpful for the Errors tab because if you download a CSV file of all the records with errors, you can quickly fix those errors and then import that CSV.
  3. Selecting Finish Import will process your import and either update or create all profiles that were selected.

You're DONE

You're DONE

We'll let you know when the import has been completed, and tell you how many new people you created, how many people were updated, and how many people were skipped because they didn't have any changes made to their profiles.

Undoing Imports

If you processed your import and it made changes that you were not expecting, you can always undo your import. When you select undo this import it is only going to undo any changes that were made to existing profiles. This will not remove any new profiles that were created during the import. If you want to completely reverse the import (including all the people that were created), you will need to email our support team. Someone from our team can take care of that for you! When you email us your request, be sure to include the following information:

  • Name of the CSV file
  • Date of import
  • Time of import

You can find all this by going to the link below:

https://people.planningcenteronline.com/people_imports

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