Understanding bulk updating with imports

This article is part of the Insightly Importing Guide

When you import records to Insightly, you can update existing Insightly records by matching the record ID in the CRM to the record ID included in your file. You can also update selected records from a list view with the bulk editing options.

The most common method of using imports to update records in bulk is to:

  1. Export the records you'd like to update
  2. Edit the file to change the records
  3. Import the file and choose the update option

All the steps for importing are outlined in How to import data into Insightly. Step 5 is when you can choose to update existing records during the import process.

What's a record ID?

The record ID is a number that's assigned by Insightly as each record is created. The Record ID field is displayed in the Details section of every record and also in the URL. (If you don't see Record ID field under Details, your administrator will need to enable it in System Settings.)


When you export records from Insightly to a CSV file, the Record ID is included in the first column of the file.

How does updating work?

Fields in Insightly only accept one value, so an import update will replace the existing information with new information from your file. However, we'll never replace an existing value with a blank value. So, if you perform an import update with a new email address for a contact, the Email field will be changed. For example, "keydancer@insightly.com" can become "flutterfingers@insight.ly."

How to add the record ID

As I already mentioned, import updates need to be matched up using the Record ID field. This isn't a problem if you're exporting records from Insightly and updating the exported file, because the ID is already included.

But if you have a file from another source, the process can get tricky, since you will need to add the matching record IDs to the file. To do that:

  1. Export the records from Insightly that correspond to the records you want to update (contacts, organizations, etc.).
    It's a good idea to save an extra copy of this file, since you'll be making changes to it. Mistakes can happen.
  2. Add a Record ID field to the spreadsheet that you'll be importing.
  3. At this point, one option is to manually find the matches in the Insightly file and copy-and-paste them one by one into your import file. That may be acceptable to you if you don't have many to update.

    It's more likely that you're going to update lots of records. Using Excel or Google Docs, you can use a VLOOKUP formula to match to the record names and update your record ID field for you. Since this depends on how your files are set up. Check your software documentation or consult an expert to find the best way to handle this.
  4. Once the records are updated, use the Save As or Download As options to save the file as a comma-delimited CSV file.
  5. With the record IDs in your file, you can now import the records to Insightly and choose one of the update options to update the existing records.
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