Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Training
Templates for Data Import
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One of the first major tasks for a system administrator in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and CRM Online is importing data from your old system. In this lesson, we will go over two methods for creating templates to import data into CRM.
Within the settings module under data management, there is an icon labeled Templates for Data Import. This dialog gives us the option to choose which entity to download a template for. Let’s choose the Lead entity in this example, and then click Download.
This template is in the format of an xml document that can be opened and edited with Excel. It contains every field that CRM uses for the Lead entity. Note that when using a template, it must be saved in the xml, csv, txt, or zip format. This full template allows us to utilize all of the fields for an entity within CRM, but if the data we’re importing doesn’t use all of these fields, our template can turn out to be unnecessarily cluttered.
A solution to this problem is to create a custom template within CRM where it’s possible to pick and choose the fields that will make up column headers. In this manner, we can design the template to best correspond with the data being imported into CRM. The best way to create this template is to run an Advanced Find query. Navigate to the Sales module and, in the command bar, click Advanced Find.
We will now design the query to search for the entity in question and display the fields we want in our template. In the Look for field, select Leads. Now, click Edit Columns in the ribbon. From this dialog, we can specify which columns to include in the template.
Start by removing all of the default columns so we have a fresh start to pick and choose the necessary fields.
The Add Columns button gives us a dialog where we can check off which fields to use. By default, the Lead entity requires us to use the Topic, Last Name, and Company Name fields. Now we can go through and pick important fields that we want to use for the data import, like Business Phone and Email.
Click OK, and the fields we selected are now displayed as columns. If preferable, we can use the arrows to change the order of the columns. When finished, click OK.
From here, we can save this query as a view. We’ll name this one “Lead Import Template”.
At this point, when we export the results of this query, the exported Excel document will contain all of the column headings that we selected. Delete the results of the query and we’re left with a customized Excel template.
If we have fields in our data that don’t map over to CRM, we can add to the columns in the Excel document. For example, if we want to track the date when the Lead was first contacted, we can add “First Contacted” in a column header.
Now that we’re done making changes to the Excel document, let’s make sure to save it as csv formatted file.
In the lesson “Import Data Wizard”, we will cover how to use these templates to import data into CRM and show you how the system handles unmapped fields.
For more tips, tricks, and tutorials, please refer to the Success Portal and blog.xrm.com.