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How to Import Without Making Duplicates

Sometimes, you’re faced with having a constantly updated outside spreadsheet that you need to keep up-to-date in Ivinex. How do you re-import information without creating hundreds of duplicate records?

The solution is in the Import Wizard’s De-Duplication feature. Let’s learn how to use this powerful little tool!

First, go to the Import Wizard on the upper-right corner of your tab’s Table View. Make sure you’re on the correct tab that you want to import records into. Next, select the spreadsheet you want. If you are unsure of the format you need your spreadsheet to be in, check out the Importing data into a module tutorial for more information.

Once you’re on Step 2, you can start the de-duplication process.

What Makes a Duplicate Record?

Before Ivinex can start handling your duplicate records, you first have to tell it what counts as a duplicate record. Are your customers differentiated by a unique customer ID? Maybe they’re set apart by different phone numbers or emails.

Determine which fields set your records apart as unique, and then check the ‘De-duplication’ box next to each of those fields. The De-duplication boxes are your way of telling Ivinex, “On import, if the data being imported (from the spreadsheet) EXACTLY MATCHES EXISTING DATA for the checked fields, then the two records are duplicates.”

Fig. 1 – In this example, records will be marked as duplicate if the first and last names are the same. This will cause problems if two different customers have the same name.

Which fields should I mark for de-duplication? Your best bet is to choose all fields that you know are not going to change. Some examples are names, birthdays, and customer IDs. It’s good to choose more than one because, for example, if you just choose names, any customers who happen to have the same name will be considered duplicates. But if you choose names and birthdays, then the identically-named customers will keep their separate records.

Why not just mark every field? You can do this if you know for sure that none of the contents of your old records have changed at all, and just want to make sure they aren’t imported twice. However, if anything has changed, there will be problems. If Suzie’s phone number is different on your spreadsheet than it is in Ivinex, and you have the ‘Phone Number’ field checked for de-duplication, then Ivinex will not consider the two Suzie records to be duplicates and will import Suzie as a new record.

What to do with Duplicates

Once you’ve told Ivinex how to tell if records are duplicates, it’s time to tell it what to do with them. This is accomplished at the “Action for Duplicate Records” dropdown at the bottom of the page. There are seven different options you can choose, depending on what you want. Most people use Merge Records–Add if not Found (preference to New Record) but your situation may be different:

  • Keep Existing and New Records: The default option. This reads your spreadsheet and puts every record found in the spreadsheet into the database regardless of whether that record already exists or not. If you have a record ‘A’ in the database and a record ‘A’ in the spreadsheet, you will have 2 ‘A’ records in the database after the import.
    Keep Existing and New Records

    Keep Existing and New Records

    Warning: This option will IGNORE any fields that you have selected for deduplication.
  • Merge Records – Add if not found (preference to the New Record): This will read the spreadsheet and add all records where there is no match. If there is a match, all fields where there were previously NO DATA will be replaced with fields that DO HAVE DATA. If both fields contain data, then the spreadsheet data will be used for this field.

    Merge Records – Add if not found (preference to the New Record)

    Merge Records – Add if not found (preference to the New Record)

  • Merge Records – Add if not found (preference to the Existing Record): This will read the spreadsheet and add all records where there is no match. If there is a match, all fields where there were previously NO DATA will be replaced with fields that DO HAVE DATA. If both fields contain data, then the existing records data will be maintained for this field.

    Merge Records – Add if not found (preference to the Existing Record)

    Merge Records – Add if not found (preference to the Existing Record)

  • Replace with New Record: All records where there is no match will be added. All records that do have a match will be DELETED and then RECREATED as a new record from the imported spreadsheet data.
    Warning: This will DELETE the original record and then will CREATE a NEW record from the spreadsheet data.

    Replace with New Record

    Replace with New Record

  • Keep Existing Record: All records where there is no match will be added. All records that do have a match will not be modified at all.

    Keep Existing Record

    Keep Existing Record

  • Update only if exists (preference to the New Record): This will NOT add any record where there wasn’t a match. If there is a match, all fields where there were previously NO DATA will be replaced with fields that DO HAVE DATA. If both fields contain data, then the spreadsheet data will be used for this field.
  • Update only if exists (preference to the Existing Record): This will NOT add any record where there wasn’t a match. If there is a match, all fields where there were previously NO DATA will be replaced with fields that DO HAVE DATA. If both fields contain data, then the existing records data will be maintained for this field.

Which choice you use depends on what you are trying to acccomplish in your import. If you have a list of customers that’s constantly updated on your other computer and you want to import them and update any new info, you would probably choose “Merge Records–Preference to New Record.” If you have new information on your customers from a giant list of everyone’s customers, and you only want to update the info already in Ivinex, you would probably choose “Update Only if Exists (preference to New Record).” Think about what you’re doing to figure out how to sort.

Note: Unless you know what whitespace is and have a good reason to avoid trimming it, you should leave the “Ignore Whitespace” and “Trim Whitespace for all fields” boxes checked.

Validation

Click ‘Next’ to go to the Validation screen. Here, you’ll be alerted of any possible errors that might happen before you start the actual import. It will also tell you how many duplicates it found. If this number seems wrong to you, double-check your settings to make sure you set everything correctly.

Once you’ve clicked ‘Next’ on the validation screen, your duplicate-free spreadsheet will import in!

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