Importing entries

This feature is available to organizations on the Pro, Team, and Enterprise plans.

Easily upload or update entry data in bulk using our automatically generated Excel templates. With the ability to import entries, you can:

  • Consolidate entries from multiple accounts or organizations into a single account
  • Move entries to Cognito Forms from another form builder
  • Quickly populate data for Lookup fields, such as inventory lists, prices, etc.

How does it work?

Quick Tip

Before you start importing, please note that imported entries will count toward your organization’s entry limits.

Import entries using our simple three-step process: 1) download the Excel template, 2) paste your entry data into the designated columns, and then 3) upload your entries.

Before you start importing, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Imported entries will count toward your organization’s entry limits.
  • Only Excel files smaller than 1MB can be uploaded.
  • If you are only importing new entry data (and have no repeating data), the entry ID column can be left blank.
  • The internal field names in the first row must match the field names on the form. Columns that do not match will be skipped when importing the data.
  • Entries that exceed quantity limits will not be imported.
  • Excel files that contain duplicate entry IDs or repeating data IDs will not be imported.
  • When updating existing data, if a row for an entry does not exist in the import file, the entry will be left as is.
  • You can import entries into any status (including Incomplete) using the Entry_Status column in the import template.
    Importing entries does not trigger any notifications or integrations associated with the form.
  • For Choice fields set to the Checkboxes type, choice options containing commas or quotes will be contained within double quotes in the export/import. Additionally, we do not validate that the choice options you enter match the values on your form. For example, if the options in your Choice field are Red, Green, and Blue, but you enter Yellow in the import template, the Choice field will be blank in the entry.
  • Yes/No fields always require a value when importing entries. Make sure to enter a value that matches the Choices option in your Yes/No field settings. For example, if the Choices option is Yes/No, enter the value Yes or No. Or, enter TRUE or FALSE in the Yes/No column – this method will always work regardless of the Choice selection.
  • You cannot import Signature fields or File Upload fields.
  • When a user imports entries, the import date/time and their username/email are recorded in the entry audit log.

Getting started

Be careful when updating existing entries - once the entries are updated, the previous versions cannot be restored. You may want to export the existing data first and keep it just in case!

Users with Editor level permissions can import entries from an Excel spreadsheet:

  1. Click the Actions tab at the top of the Entries page.

  2. Download a pre-generated template Excel document for your form. The first row of the template will contain internal field names.

  3. Once you finish populating your document, select the Upload button or drag the file into the Import Entries dialog.

  4. Under Manage Matching Entries, select one of two options:

    • Always create a new entry for each row: All spreadsheet rows will be imported as new entries.
    • Update entries when entry IDs match: Entries will be updated when the values in the entry ID column (ex: FormName_ID) correspond to existing form entries.
  5. Select the Import button to begin importing entries. Depending on the volume of entry data, this process could take some time - feel free to leave the page.
    ImportingEntries.3.png Once the import is completed, you will receive an email notification containing a link to the uploaded file. If any errors occurred during the import, you can download an annotated import file with comments. All imported entries will appear on the Entries page with a status of Submitted.

Repeating section and table data

When importing repeating section and table data, the Excel file must contain a sheet with the same name as the repeating section or table. The sheet must have an entry ID column (ex: FormName_ID) and an item ID column (ex: RepeatingSectionName_ID), and the values in the item ID column must be unique.

Repeating section data is contained in a separate worksheet in Excel.

You can import up to one nested repeating section (i.e. a repeating section within another repeating section). The sheet for the innermost repeating section must have an ID column for the repeating section itself, the form, and all parent sections.

When updating data, existing repeating section data will be left as is if a sheet does not exist for a repeating section. If a sheet does exist, the repeating section items that are not in the import file will be deleted.

Lookup field data

If your form has Lookup fields, you can import data to those fields using the value’s name (ex: “Flavored Coffees”) or the corresponding entry ID number from the source form (ex: “5” if the entry number is #5). When importing checkbox values into Lookups, the import value should be a comma-delimited list of display names (ex: First Choice, Second Choice, Third Choice). If your Lookup fields have any connected cascading dropdowns, make sure to include those values in the import file as well.

If your Lookup fields have any connected cascading dropdowns, make sure to include those values in the import file as well.

Additionally, you can use the import feature to populate data on the lookup source form, such as a product catalog. Learn more.

Partial imports

In some cases, an import may fail and only import some of the entries. To import the missing entries:

  1. Open the Excel file that is flagged with errors.
  2. Fix the identified errors.
  3. Re-upload only the lines/entries that contain the errors. Please note that the entries that needed to be fixed will not be placed into their original order - they will be added to the end of the entries list.

In cases of a partial import, we do not recommend deleting all your entries and re-uploading the entire file unless absolutely necessary. While the entries would import in their original order, the entry numbers wouldn’t start at 1. Additionally, imported entries are counted in your entry limits, and re-importing the same entry would result in that entry effectively counting twice toward your entry limit.

How do I use it?

With the ability to import entries, you can:


Consolidate entries into a single account

If you have multiple accounts or organizations with Cognito Forms, you can easily consolidate your data:

  1. Share your form with the new account. Or, copy the form if it is within the same account but in a different organization.
  2. Export your entry data from the original form using the All Fields option on the Entries page. If you are updating existing entries, make sure that the entry ID column (ex: FormName_ID) matches the name of the new form.
  3. Import the entry data to the new form.

Move entries to Cognito Forms

You can import entry data from other form builders the same way you’d move it between Cognito Forms accounts:

  1. In Cognito Forms, build your new form starting from scratch or using a template.
  2. Use the Import option on the Entries page to download a pre-generated template Excel document for your new form.
  3. Copy the data from your old form into the custom template.
  4. Import your entry data to the new form.

Successfully imported 24 entries.

Populate data for Lookups

Use our import feature with Lookup fields to quickly populate the data you’re looking up, such as a product catalog:

  1. Create a form for your product catalog, including a field for all item details (price, size, available quantity, etc.).
  2. Use the Import option on the Entries page to download a pre-generated template Excel document for your product catalog form.
  3. Copy your inventory data into the custom template.
  4. Import your entry data to populate the product catalog form.
  5. Create an order form, and use the Lookup field to populate item information from the product catalog.

Populate the form entries with your product information.