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Importing and Migrating Data

Getting Started

The first step to a successful Capsule CRM account is to add all of your contacts to the People & Organizations tab. To save yourself time, Capsule has a few options to add your contacts in bulk. It’s important to know that depending on the method you use, there may be a few preparation steps to add your contacts. Click on the Import Contacts button in the top right to get started.

showing the main import contacts button

This will take you to the menu area:

showing the main import hub and the different options to add contacts

Here, you can decide which way to add your contacts - click on the links below to find out more about each option: - How to Import Contacts from a CSV or Excel

How to import Contacts from a CSV or Excel file

This is one of the most common ways to get your data into Capsule. If you’ve used a CRM previously, or have your data stored in a different service it is likely you will be able to export that to a CSV or Excel file. The key to importing this successfully into Capsule is first preparing the data, then setting up Capsule to support all of your data fields.

Step 1: Decide where your data is coming from

If you already have a list of contacts (for example, from Google or LinkedIn), we have some dedicated guides for how to export contacts from these popular tools to a CSV file - which you in turn can use to import as per the steps below:

Step 2: Organizing your spreadsheet for import - Creating People vs Organization records

When you import from a CSV or Excel file, Capsule will look at each row and use specific fields to create either a Person or an Organization record. If you’re planning to store details against both People and Organizations, they’ll need to be on seperate rows in your spreadsheet.

  • Creating a Person: If the row has a first and/or last name then Capsule will always use that row to create a person. It will also add all the remaining contact details on the same row to that person.
example of csv spreadsheet containing people, first name and last name columns highlighed
  • Linking the Person to their Organization: Add an Organization column to the Person row to show where they work and link them up in Capsule.
example of csv spreadsheet containing people, organization column highlighted
  • Adding details to the Organization record: If you do not want to add details to the Organization record, you do not need to do this step. This is because an Organization record (e.g. Bookingly) will be automatically created when importing and all of the people linked to it.

    If you want to add details to the Organization record itself, you only need to have the Organization column populated on that row, plus any other columns on that row that you’d like to store on the Organization. Make sure to leave the first name and last name columns blank:
example of csv spreadsheet with organisation row highlighted

Below is an overall example of how the spreadsheet can be set up to create multiple People and their Organizations and store details on both record types.

example of csv spreadsheet with contact data

Step 3: Getting the fields right for import

Most fields are straight forward but it's good to understand how some fields might need specific formatting.

  • First & Last Name/Organization: Find out more in Step 2 - Creating People vs Organizations.
  • Address: Capsule uses a single field for the street in the address meaning that your file needs to have a single column for the Street. You can still use multiple lines within the address for things like apartment numbers etc. They just need to be in the same cell, separated with a line break. Remaining fields like city, zip etc should all have their own columns in the file.
  • Tags: You can add these to your contacts in two ways, find out more in the importing Tags section.
  • Custom Fields: Depending on the type you choose, Custom Fields will be formatted differently. Read more on how to do this in the importing Custom Fields section.
  • DataTags: DataTags will need to be added to the Tags column, with extra fields for each Custom Field within. Find out more in our dedicated section on importing DataTags.
  • Notes: Notes can be imported but are best formatted in a certain way to ensure that they are separated out and have the correct dates against them. Learn more in our dedicated section on importing history.

See the example below for how all these things can be set up in your spreadsheet. Click here to download the sample file.

example of csv spreadsheet with contact data

Step 4: Importing the file into Capsule

Once you have your files ready to go:

  1. Go to the People & Organizations tab.
  2. Click the Import Contacts button at the top-right of the screen.
  3. Select CSV or Spreadsheet file.
screenshot showing the button to start the import tool
  1. Use the Click to upload button (or drag and drop your file), then click Next to get started.
  2. Now you'll be asked to match up the columns in your file to the corresponding fields in Capsule. Capsule will try to automatically detect the right columns but please double check all columns to make sure it is correct. The 'Uploaded Sample Data' section shows what values from your file will be put into each field. At this point, you can also create your Custom Fields.
preview of mapped fields
  1. When you're done with your selection, click the Next button.

  2. If Capsule has found duplicates in your file then you'll be presented with an option to choose how to handle those. You can either import them all as new contacts anyway, ignore the duplicates or choose the option to Import and update duplicates using the data from your file.

duplicate choices

We have more details on this process in our dedicated section on updating contacts with an import.

  1. Next you'll see a preview of the contacts that are about to be imported. Confirm that it all looks right and check to make sure that the number of contacts about to be created matches up with your expectations.
Import preview
  1. Finally click Import Now. Your import will start and you will be notified via email when it's complete.

Adding Custom Fields via import

Adding Custom Fields to your contacts is a quick and easy way to store unique information right from the start. Depending on the data type you want to add, there are some important details to note:

  • Text: Text fields have a 250 character limit.
  • Date: Choose one of the supported date formats for all dates in the spreadsheet out of dd/mm/yyyy, dd-mm-yyyy, mm/dd/yyyy, mm-dd-yyyy, yyyy/mm/dd or yyyy-mm-dd.
  • Check Box: For checked, use Y or TRUE. For not checked, use N or FALSE.
  • Number: Number fields have a 12 character limit with optional 3 decimal places.
  • List: List fields will need to be set up in Account Settings first. It is a single select field, so you will need to add the single value for that contact in their row.

Custom Fields are usually added in Account SettingsCustom Fields. If you are an Admin User, to make the process quicker, you can set up most Custom Fields when importing instead:

  1. At the matching fields Stage, click on the No Match Field
  2. Choose Add New Custom Field
  3. Fill in all of the details for it including the Type and Description
  4. Click Save

The field will then be created and once the import has finished, the information in the column for that field will be stored against your contacts.

Gif showing the user creating a Custom Date Field while importing

Adding Tags via import

Adding Tags to your contacts during import helps you to organize your contacts into manageable groups from the get go.

There are two ways to do this:

  • The first is to add a single column called “Tags” and then add your Tags to each relevant contact as a comma separated list.
example of single column of tags
  • The second option is to add a separate column for each Tag and just add the Tag in each row where you would like it to be applied. When you come to the mapping stage in Capsule, you will select the option to Apply as tag.
Multiple tag columns

Adding DataTags via import

You will need to make sure the DataTag is set up in Account SettingsTags and DataTags first.

In your spreadsheet, you need to include the DataTag name in the 'Tag' column and then have a separate column for each Custom Field within the DataTag.

Then when importing, you can map to the right fields. For a DataTag called 'Lead' with a Custom Field in it called 'Source' you would map the Custom Fields like this:

A very descriptive description for the image

That will tag the contact with 'Lead' and add the values of Word of Mouth, Ad and Conference to the respective contact in the 'Source' Custom Field.

How to import history

When importing your contacts using the CSV or Excel import process you can also import notes & emails. To import multiple notes for the same contact and to set a date for your history entry there's some specific formatting you need to use:

*** NOTE ***
First interesting note

*** NOTE ***
Second interesting note

Emails can be imported with similar formatting - you just replace NOTE with EMAIL like this:

*** EMAIL ***
First interesting note

  • The note separator field must be formatted exactly as in the example without any extra or removed spaces.
  • The date element is optional.
  • Excel truncates fields to a relatively short limit of 32,000 characters. As a result Excel is unsuitable if you're generating CSV or Excel files with long note histories.
  • For better control over note importing, consider engaging a developer to import the notes via the Capsule API.

Then during the import you map the history column in your file to 'add as note/history to contact' in Capsule.

Option to map history column to contact

How to assign users when importing

To assign Contacts to a specific User when importing, you will first need to add a column in your file with the header ‘Owner’. You can then add the username for the Capsule User you would like to assign each Contact to in each respective row.

Administrators on your account can find the username for each User by going to Account Settings > Users and Teams.

How to view last imports

After every import, you will get a confirmation email with a summary of the import and the link to view the imported contacts in Capsule. If you want to see a recent list of contacts that you've previously imported, this can also be done from within Capsule:

  1. Go to the People & Organizations tab
  2. Choose the Import Contacts button
  3. Scroll down to the File Import History section and click on your chosen import for more details
showing the file import history section with 3 example imports listed

How to undo the last import

If you want to undo your last import for any reason, Capsule gives you the option to view the new contacts added in your last import which you can then delete in bulk. To do that, you should follow these steps:

  1. Go to the People & Organizations tab
  2. Select the import you want to undo from the saved lists at the top of the page
  3. Click the trash-can button at the top-right of the page to delete all the contacts in the list at once
Select saved list containing the last import

CSV or Excel import troubleshooting

Failed Imports or Rows

Whether it’s your full import or a specific row, there are a few reasons that can cause them to have trouble importing into Capsule. After every Import, Capsule will generate a file of any rows that have failed or been ignored. To view the file:

  1. Go to the People & Organizations tab
  2. Choose the Import Contacts button
  3. Scroll down to the File Import History section and click on your chosen import
  4. In the yellow box, choose the button to download the file
Select saved list containing the last import

In that file, you will find a Reason column that gives more detail on why it did not import. We’ve explained the common reasons below:

Failed ReasonExplanation
Invalid Email Address

For example, if any email addresses in the Email column do not include an @ sign.

Duplicate Person

If you have more than one Person with the same First Name, Last Name and Email address in the same spreadsheet.

Duplicate Organization

Organization names in Capsule are unique. If you are updating Contacts, see Updating contacts using the Import tool.

Missing Name Fields

A missing First Name and/or Last Name on a Person row and/or a missing Organization name in the Organization column. See more details in Step 2 - Creating People vs Organizations.

Duplicate Row

Where you have selected to ignore existing contacts and an existing contact has been found.

Owner Not In Team

The chosen assigned owner/user isn't in the team. This only applies if you specify the Team in the row for that contact.

Email Belongs To a User

Email addresses linked to a User cannot be updated by import. Read more about How to view and change the email address linked to your user.

There are also situations where a Custom Field does not match your settings in Capsule. This includes the following reasons:

Failed ReasonExplanation
Invalid value for list

The entry in your spreadsheet is not part of the List Custom Field. For example, importing a value of C, when the List Custom Field only includes A or B.

Invalid number for custom field

Custom Number fields have a 12-character limit with optional 3 decimal places.

Invalid date field/format

You must choose one of the supported date formats for all dates in the spreadsheet out of dd/mm/yyyy, dd-mm-yyyy, mm/dd/yyyy, mm-dd-yyyy, yyyy/mm/dd or yyyy-mm-dd.

Deleted after importThe Custom Field has been deleted after the import was completed.

The following only applies if you are using the Contact ID column to update contacts by import:

Failed ReasonExplanation
PartyDeletedCapsule is unable to find the contact as it has been deleted.
PartyNotFoundCapsule isn’t able to find the contact to update it.

If you need some extra support to find out, you can email support@capsulecrm.com with a copy of the file for more information.

Question marks or strange characters in the import

Capsule assumes that CSV files are in UTF-8 format which allows you to store details about your contacts using characters from most of the world’s languages. However some applications save files in a format specific to your location.

You can usually convert these files to UTF-8 format using a simple text editor. On Windows you can use Notepad, and on Mac OSX you can use TextEdit. Then follow these steps:

  1. Open the CSV file in your text editor
  2. Select 'Save As' from the file menu
  3. Select Unicode (UTF-8) from the text encoding menu in the Save as dialog box

How to import Opportunities and Projects

It’s not possible to import sales Opportunities or Projects in the same way as you can with Contacts. The way we do this instead is using a service called Zapier.

In Zapier you create 'zaps' which when triggered in one app, action something in another. This allows you to create a zap with a Google Sheet which creates a new Opportunity or Project in Capsule when a new row is added to your Google Sheet. Once the zap template is created it's simply a case of copying the data you have for your Opportunities or Projects in the CSV file to the Google Sheet and the zap will take care of the rest.

There are Zapier Templates for importing Opportunities and importing Projects to help with this.

How to import Contacts using the Capsule Mobile App

To import contacts from your phone’s contacts:

  1. Open the Capsule mobile app and select the Contacts tab
  2. Click the + button at the top-right of the screen and select Import Contact
  3. Then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

How to import Contacts using accounting integrations

Accounting integrations allow you to easily sync all of the contacts from your accounting tool into Capsule, which you can setup at any point. If you have your contacts in your accounting tool already but not in Capsule, enabling the integration early on will add your contacts into Capsule in one simple step. Learn more about how to connect your accounting tool to Capsule:

Migrating data to Capsule from a different CRM

Preparation is key when making the transition from another CRM to Capsule. You can start by checking out our blog post: 6 Steps to Successfully Migrate CRM Data

When migrating data from one CRM to another, after you have completed your data analysis and cleanup (steps 1 and 2 in the above blog post), the next step is to export the data from your existing system and then format it ready to import into Capsule. The way the exported data will be formatted after export is dependent on your current CRM.

We have some helpful tips depending on the CRM you are migrating from below. If you would prefer to have customised support during this process, there are external migration services available (such as CloudCruise, a Capsule partner). These services can help you migrate the data from your previous CRM to Capsule. For more details, please get in touch with us here to get started.


You can export your contacts from HubSpot and then directly import these into Capsule. Within the HubSpot Academy there is an article explaining the process to export your lists.

Salesforce, Pipedrive, Act! And Zoho

Some CRM’s don’t provide all of your data in a single CSV file, for example, contact details and notes can end up separated. Salesforce, Pipedrive, Act! and Zoho are instances of a CRM that doesn’t export your data to a single CSV file.

Salesforce’s backup data export gives you a list of different files where the data is split up. Act! gives you all the contacts in one export and a separate export gives you the history. Pipedrive also exports to separate files. Similar to the others, the export from Zoho gives you an option to export from individual modules or individual reports. Zoho reports have additional limitations that reduce their suitability for large scale exports.

With Capsule, when you import a CSV or Excel file, all the information for the contact, such as name, phone number, notes and email history, needs to be in the same file when you do the import. You can't complement an existing contact with notes and email history from a new CSV file. Due to this, for an export from Salesforce, Pipedrive, Act! or Zoho, you’ll need to merge the individual files into a single file before importing.

Contact import

The last step will be to import the contact records via CSV or Excel. We have a full guide to help you with this step. One thing to note is that our in-app import is purely for the contact records and their associated information like phone numbers and addresses, etc. Third party tools can be used to help with importing Opportunities and Projects.