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How do I import companies, people, and leads from a CSV spreadsheet?
How do I import companies, people, and leads from a CSV spreadsheet?
Andy Fowler avatar
Written by Andy Fowler
Updated over a week ago

One of the first steps toward closing more sales faster is getting your existing contact list into Nutshell.

Our import tool makes it easy and efficient for administrators to import a spreadsheet (saved as a CSV file) directly into Nutshell.

To save an Excel sheet as a CSV, simply choose the Comma Separated Values file type from the Save as... window in Excel.

Administrators can upload a CSV file (easily attainable from Excel, Google Sheets, or another CRM), then map the columns to Nutshell. By importing your spreadsheet, you can quickly add (or update) hundreds, or even thousands, of new companies, people, and leads all at once.

Download this example spreadsheet import template to plan how your own file should be formatted.

If you aren't an administrator, you won't be able to import a spreadsheet. You can easily create new companies, people, and leads by following these instructions instead.

How to import

Prepare Nutshell

Before getting started with an import, you'll want to create any custom fields, tags, and company types that are part of the import. If you plan to assign your companies, people, and leads to team members, you'll need to ensure that their usernames in Nutshell match the names in your file exactly.

For some best practices on preparing Nutshell to match with the data in your file, check out this article.

Import your file

Go to Company settings > Import in your Nutshell account to get started with the import process. Once you've selected the "Choose file" button, selected your CSV file, and clicked "Next," you'll be taken to the matching screen.


Map your fields

Click here for a full list of fields you can map your data to during an import. Nutshell tries to automatically identify your fields for you, but since your file contains information that's unique to your business, you will want to double check that all fields are correctly mapped during the Match stage.


Preview page


After clicking Preview, you have the following options.

Existing companies/people:

  • Skip: does not update existing companies/people

  • Update: matches the data to existing companies/people based on legacy ID, name, or email

Match duplicate people on:

  • Email: Nutshell merges duplicates based on email (Recommended)

  • Name: Nutshell merges duplicates based on name (This is a good option if none of your contacts have the same name)

  • Both: Nutshell merges duplicates based on both (Select both if all of your contacts have a name and an email address. Nutshell will not merge potential duplicates if only the name or the email address matches; this option will require both the name and email address to be an exact match to be merged into one record)

Match duplicate companies on:

  • Name: Nutshell will merge duplicates based on the company name

Create leads for each:

  • Company: If you're primarily selling to companies

  • Person: If you're primarily selling to individuals

  • Don’t create any leads: If you don't see this option, it means you've selected a lead data field on the Match stage

  • Create leads for updated companies and people: If you've already imported your contacts, but forgot to create leads, use this feature to create leads for updated companies and people.

New lead status:

Leads created via CSV import will be Open by default. If you want your imported leads in a different status, be sure to include a status column in your CSV. The status column can contain one of the following values for each row:

  • Won

  • Lost

  • Cancelled

  • Open (or blank, which will default to Open)

Note: you can always open leads in a bulk edit to choose a smaller group to start working on!

Select Begin import, and you're all set!

Reverting an import

Don't worry if you made a mistake—imports can be reverted!

  1. Under Import History, click the on the import you wish to revert

  2. Click the Revert this import button

Reverting an import will remove all the data that was added during that import.

Note: Reverting an import will not delete any updates you've made to companies and people such as new notes, contact information, and custom field data.


Re-using file mappings (Import with a new file)

Don't want to re-map all the fields for a new import? If the CSV columns in another file are the same as a previous import, you can select "Import with a new file," and it will match the columns as they were matched in the previous import.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I getting "invalid tag" errors after the import is finished?

Before you can import a tag into Nutshell, you must create the tag at Company settings > Tags. Tags must be spelled exactly the same in your file as you spell it in Nutshell. If you're still getting an "invalid tag" error, check for extra spaces in your file and remove them.

How long should I expect my import to take?

Depending on the size of your spreadsheet, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours for your contacts and leads to fully upload. You can track your import's progress by watching the completion status here:


When I select my CSV file on the Import page, my columns appear lumped together and separated by semi-colons. What gives?

Excel automatically uses semi-colons as delimiters if you're in a European country. Since you can only import comma-separated files into Nutshell, you have to update your separator settings. For instructions, click here.

Why am I getting a "temporary difficulties" error after I select my file and click "Next"?

This can sometimes happen if there's an issue with your file—for example, if your file has too many columns, or if the file isn't in UTF-8 format. If you come across this error, make sure that your file is saved in UTF-8 format. You can also try splitting the file up into smaller pieces to import each one separately, which will help you troubleshoot the problem area of the file. Contact us for assistance!

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