The primary component to understand about Chronicle is that it exists to keep track of data. It does so by maintaining stringent constraints about how data must look to be imported into its database. Data that does not meet its constraints will not be imported. Many programs will let you export your contact list to a file that Excel can then open. The export may give you more information than the Chronicle import needs. The key to a good import is to setup and cleanup the file you will use in the import. This article will explain what you need to do.
What type of file to use:
- Export all data into an Excel 2007 or later compatible file, in a .xlsx or .xlsm file format. If you are attempting to open an Excel file and find it is not listed where you saved it, then open the file and save the file as an Excel 2007 format or later. Then you should be able to select it in the Import Tool.
- To make the import go more smoothly, clean up the Excel worksheet before importing, keeping the worksheet as simple as possible using the data types described below. Delete any blank columns or columns that do not fit the data types below.
- At the end of this article be sure to read the types of data files you can create.
Preparing to Import: Chronicle's Import Tool is a button found on the people or organization tab in the tool bar.
When you have selected the file to import, Chronicle does a good job of identifying fields that will cause problems. There's a legend at the bottom:
- Items in red will cause the whole row to fail to import.
- Items in magenta will cause those cells not to import.
- Items in yellow are a warning that information may be missing.
If all of those items are resolved then there should be no errors during the import process.
Time needed to do the import:
- Be prepared to be at your computer while the import is taking place. This is an interactive process. If the application needs input, to resolve a conflict or acknowledge an error, the import process will be halted.
- It takes about 3 minutes to import 100 contacts from a simple cleaned up Excel file containing first and last name, address1, city, state, and zip. This gives you an idea of how much time you will need to set aside for the import process.
Chronicle's Import Tool:
Data Types and Cell Formats: The following are types of data that Chronicle will import, and the format it should be in to be acceptable. The field choices for both a person and an organization are listed to the left of the import tool. Here is an explanation of each:
- Person Name - The name is required when importing people. Names can be contained within a single cell that represents the full name, or within two cells that represent a first and last name. Names are very important for Chronicle. To have these imported as a person, both first and last name must be present. Not having this information will cause that row to fail to import.
- Categories - You must select a category for each import that you do. Therefore, keep each Excel file to one category of person i.e. adjusters, agents, sub-contractors, etc. or one category of organization i.e insurance company, subcontractor, etc. The import process will not allow you to mix categories in the same import.
- Company Name - The company or organization name is only required when importing just company information, but if present in the same file with people, then Chronicle will add the company and associate the person to the company. If you just have a list of companies with contact information, then create an excel file separate from the people file. In other words, do not include any first/last/full name fields for people when importing just organizations.
- Title - Chronicle will import the title that someone has if the information is present. At this time there are no known constraints on this data and it is optional.
- Address1 and Address2 - Addresses, like names, can be stored in either a single field which should include the full address, or in multiple cells for each: Address, Address2, City, State, Zip. Single cells entries are strongly discouraged. The reason is that some street/city names can turn into fields so long that the data gets cut off and lost, which causes a bad import problem. Additionally, all of the data in the Address cell would need to be formatted consistently. An entry such as 1234 My Street, Suite 123, My Town, DC, 12345. The preferred method is to break each of those components into individual cells. You can use formulas in Excel to slit up the single address field into multiple. Please note that address information should be present for every record, though you may find that at the least you should have a zip code for each record. Otherwise you will find that the import process generates a lot of error messages. The address field is only 255 characters long with can contain numbers and/or letters.
- City - This should contain only letters and spaces. Please see Zip Code to fully understand how Chronicle deals with cities.
- State - This should be a field that represents the state the customer resides in. Please see Zip Code to fully understand how Chronicle deals with states.
- Zip/Postal Codes - Chronicle typically contains a pretty extensive list of zip codes that do not need much modification. As a result, before being asked for a city or state, Chronicle will often prompt a user for a zip code first. This is helpful to understand as the importation process starts. Before any records get entered into Chronicle it does a zip code check, so be sure to have a zip code for each record. Also, if the city, state fields do not match the zip that Chronicle has, then the user is prompted to clarify if the city, state needs to be changed.
- Phone - Chronicle currently imports up to 3 different numbers for people. A Work, Cell, and Fax number. And two for organizations. The fields can formatted as (123) 456-7890, 123-456-7890, or 1234567890. Extensions are currently not accepted, that information will need to be imported manually. If you have a file that has organization and the people who work there but only have a work number for the person, you can tell Chronicle to also import that number as an office numbers.
- Email - This field accepts a standardized email address in the form of >addressee>@some.domain. Again, beware the length of this information, characters beyond 255 may be lost.
- Notes - If you have any notes about a person that you want to import, then you can do so. However, be aware that long notes may need to be imported manually.
- Security level access - Rarely will you ever import a list of people with access to Chronicle. The default import is set to 0 Access.
- Office Description - This information will be placed in the description field of the organization file. It can be something like the South Street Office and is in addition to the address.
- Office Contact - This field is for phone numbers that are general office numbers. If importing with people who work there you can check to also add the person phone numbers to the office. Only do so if it is truly a general number. You should keep phone numbers that are unique to a person in the person file only.
Types of Data Files:
Format your Excel files into one of these three choices.
- PEOPLE with personal contact info - If the contact info you have is personal contact information, i.e. you have home phone/address information, then import as people with NO organization fields in the worksheet. Chronicle will create a person file and save the contact information in the person file. You can later manually associate them to organizations if needed. This type of import is useful for customers or prospective customers. It would look something like this: first name, last name, personal address, personal phone, personal email, etc.
- PEOPLE with business contact info - If the contact info you have is office contact information i.e. you have business phone/address information (name/address/phone/etc), then add a column with the company name (organization) as well and include a first/last name column of the people that work there. Do not include personal contact info. Chronicle will create an organization file, save the people in a people file AND then associate them to that organization. Chronicle will also save the address info for the business to BOTH the org and the person. You can later go in and change/add any personal contact info you have or may acquire later. It would look something like this: org name; first name; last name, business address, business phone, business email, etc.
- COMPANY ONLY with business contact info - If the organization is the contact, then format the Excel worksheet to have org name, address, phone, etc. Do NOT include any people name fields. Be sure to pick the category fields for an organization which appear after you tell the import program which column is the company name. Chronicle will create an org file with the category/contact info in the worksheet. You can associate people later. It would look something like this: org name, org address, org phone, org email, etc.
PEOPLE with both personal and business contact info: If your Excel file contains both, our best advice is to import the people and organizations separately per the instructions above and then manually associate the people to their places of work. This is easier than cleaning up the address information later.
Chronicle will not import duplicate people or organizations as long as it is an EXACT match. If the spelling of the name or address is different in any way Chronicle will duplicate the record in the data base. For example if in one address field you have 23rd North West Street and in another you have 23rd N. West, Chronicle will see this as a different address. Or you have Bill Smith and Bill Smith Jr. If someone does have the same exact name but different contact information, Chronicle will see it as two different people.