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Data Import Wizard

Often data originating in another system needs to be brought into Dynamics 365. The import functionality makes it easy for a business user or system a
Often data originating in another system needs to be brought into Dynamics 365.

The import functionality makes it easy for a business user or system administrator to import records. Records for any entity can be created or, in some cases, updated through the import wizard.

This step will guide us through preparatory steps and functionality of the wizard

Importing Files

Data is imported from Excel files, either through Dynamics 365 templates or Excel worksheets. Excel templates for any entity can be downloaded in the data management area of settings. This template will provide all fields for the entity; unneeded fields can be deleted from the spreadsheet.

A screenshot of the Data Management screen on Dynamics 365, with the Templates for Data Import option highlighted

Excel files can be imported without a template in the following formats: comma-separated values (.csv), text (.txt), Excel spreadsheet 2003 (.xml), Excel workbook (.xlsx), compressed (.zip).

During the import process, a data map will be created to match the columns in the spreadsheet with fields on the entity. Data maps can be saved for later use by adding a name at the end of the import process. This will make the spreadsheet to field mappings available for any user who has permissions to import data.

A screenshot of the ‘Review Settings and Import Data’ screen, with the Data Map Name box highlighted

Zip Files

It is common for there to be dependencies between multiple entities of data that could complicate an import.

For example, if you are importing new accounts and contacts, the account record has a lookup to the primary contact, and the contact has a lookup to account. The records referenced in a lookup must exist in the system on import, or that row of the import file will fail. If import files are placed in a zip file and imported together, the related records will be available and not cause failures.

Ownership of Records Created on Import

There are two methods for noting the owner of records created by an import. If an owner column is included in the import and populated with a valid username, the record will be owned by that user. At the end of the import process, a user can be chosen to own any records without a populated owner column.

By default, if any records are not otherwise noted in the owner column or in the import wizard, the records are owned by the user operating the import wizard.

Security

The ability to import data is controlled through security roles, specifically the Data Import and Data Map privileges. The user must also have created privileges for the entity to create new records via the import wizard as well as write privileges for the entity if updating data through an import.

A screenshot of the Security Role: Salesperson with the Data Import and Data Map options highlighted

Note that if a user has import permissions, they can overwrite data using Excel Online. This permission should be given very carefully as it permits the user to potentially impact a great deal of data by mistake.

Lookups

Duplicate values in a lookup field will cause the import to fail even if the records are not truly duplicated. For imports using lookup fields that may be seen as duplicates, edit the field chosen within the data map so that the data map looks for a more unique field such as an account number or phone number and does not rely on a common name or often repeated text field.

A screenshot of the Map Fields window, with the Primary Contact, Look-up button, and the Email field labelled A, B, and C respectively

Error Handing

In the imports area of data management, you can review your import jobs. Individual jobs can be reviewed by successes and failures. You cannot retrieve the original import file, only see the results of the import. In the failures column, you can review the errors that caused a row to fail.

A screenshot of the import wizard showing the failures during an XML import

Rollback

From time to time you may need to roll back an import. The option to delete an import source file will remove the file from the imports list but will not impact any data imported.

You may choose to do this to remove import jobs that failed or the clear out the record of old import jobs. If you imported data in error, you have the option to rollback all imported records by selecting all records imported to an entity during this import. The third option will remove the imported records from all entities involved in the zip file import.

A screenshot of Dynamics 365 Data Management screen, with the latest imported file, selected, and the option to Delete Import Source file highlighted

Considerations

  • New fields can be added through the import wizard, but it is not recommended where solution publishers and solution prefixes are needed in the metadata.
  • Be mindful of maximum file sizes. Zip files have a maximum file size of 32 MB, all other files have a maximum file size of 8 MB.
  • If you have any automation, such as a workflow, Microsoft Flows, plug-ins or business rules, that are configured to fire on the creation of a record and you import that record type in mass, the automation will be triggered and could impact performance.
  • Avoid using a semicolon (;) or a comma (,) in imported data. Dynamics 365 uses semicolons and commas as field delimiters.
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