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Prevent duplicates from being created in Nutshell
Prevent duplicates from being created in Nutshell
Andy Fowler avatar
Written by Andy Fowler
Updated over a week ago

Duplicates make it tough for your team to know if they’re getting the whole story. Keep your Nutshell account organized by preventing duplicates from being created when you add or update your contacts.

Duplicates are one of the biggest culprits of dirty data and no one wants that in their Nutshell account. Is it possible that the contact you’re emailing has two company pages and you’re using the page with an outdated email address? If there are duplicates in your account, you bet it is.

Nutshell is designed to eliminate this kind of guesswork. That’s why you’re using a CRM in the first place, isn’t it? You want to make sure that you’re getting all the information when you view someone’s timeline, and you can’t do that if a contact has multiple pages with different timelines in your account.

That’s exactly why you’re here: to learn how to avoid creating these duplicates in the first place. Click on the source you’ll be importing from to jump to that section.

We know that nobody’s perfect! Just in case some of those dirty duplicates make their way into your account, Nutshell’s deduplication feature has your back. Check out this article to learn more about finding and merging existing duplicates in your Nutshell account.

Importing new companies and people from a spreadsheet

Importing your data is one of the very first steps to getting up and running in Nutshell. This is one of the main places where duplicates are created, especially when you’re adding files from different team members and different sources that have never been checked for duplicate information.

Nutshell’s importer is designed to handle these duplicates with ease. Once you upload your file and match all of your columns to the correct places in your account, use the settings in the Preview section to match up and merge those duplicates based on certain criteria.

  1. Choose to update existing companies and people by selecting the Update radio button

  2. How you match duplicate people will depend on a few variables:

  • Do you have different people in your file(s) with the same name? Update existing people based on only email address to keep those people separate.

  • Do you have different people in your file(s) who have the same email address, but different names (maybe two sales reps sharing the email address Update existing people based on only name to keep them separate

  • Not sure? Match based on both name and email address. Nutshell will only combine people who have the same name and the same email address in your file(s)

Check the box to match duplicate companies based on name

Do you want to create leads for all of the contacts in your file? Be sure to check the box to Create leads for updated companies and people so that any existing contacts in Nutshell are still getting new leads created for them


Psst: If you don’t check this box to Create leads for updated companies and people, Nutshell will only create leads for new companies or people from your file and will not create leads for existing pages that have been updated.

Updating existing Nutshell companies and people with an import

There are a few different ways to match up existing companies and people when you’re using an import to add more information. When you export companies or people from Nutshell, we include an ID in that file. Those are Nutshell IDs, which can be used to match up data in your CSV file with existing pages in Nutshell during an import. They are the single best way to update existing pages, especially if you have different companies or people with the same name.


When you map Nutshell IDs in an import, the tool will automatically choose to update existing companies and people based on Nutshell ID (which is the most accurate updating method for avoiding duplicates).


Of course, you can also choose to match duplicate people based on email address and/or name and duplicate companies based on name. This can come into play when you’re updating existing Nutshell contacts with a file that didn’t come directly from your Nutshell account. You’ll want to be sure that any fields you’re updating by (email or name) are exact matches in your file and in Nutshell to avoid any accidental duplicates.

Importing contacts from Office 365

Our Office 365 integration can be used to import new Office 365 contacts into Nutshell and update your existing Nutshell contacts with your Office 365 contacts. Nutshell will match and combine duplicates automatically in a couple of ways, depending on how those contacts were originally added to Nutshell.

  • When new contacts are imported into Nutshell from Office 365 for the first time, they are imported with a unique Office 365 ID. If you make future updates to these contacts with a subsequent Office 365 contact import, we will match and merge duplicates based on those Office 365 IDs.

  • If the contact was originally created in Nutshell via any method other than through an Office 365 import, we will match and merge those duplicates based on email address. The email address on file in Office 365 for that contact will need to match exactly with the email address on file for them in Nutshell.

Please note, due to the way that Office 365 allows Nutshell to access information, if a contact is in any folder other than your default Contacts folder, we can only import the name and primary email address. We recommend ensuring that a contact’s primary email address in Office 365 matches up with the email address already on file in Nutshell before importing.

Importing contacts from G Suite

One of the time-saving tools in our Google Apps integration is the Google Contacts importer. This enables you to import your Google contacts with a few clicks. Nutshell’s G Suite Contacts importer will update existing people based on exact email address matches.

You’ll want to be sure that the email addresses you have on file in Google match with the email addresses that you have on file in Nutshell, or else you’ll see multiple contact pages for people with multiple different email addresses. The importer can also be used to update a person’s name if an existing person in Nutshell has the same email address and a different name in Google.


The Quickbooks importer will match duplicates and update existing contacts in Nutshell for you. There are a few different ways that we do this, and they depend on how those contacts were originally created in Nutshell.

If you’re importing a brand new Quickbooks contact:

  • We merge duplicates based on an exact name match first

  • If there is no existing contact in Nutshell with the same name, then we’ll try matching based on email address

  • If neither of those produce an existing match, we’ll create a new contact in Nutshell

If the contact was originally created (or ever updated) by Quickbooks:

  • We pin the Quickbooks and Nutshell records together so that all future imports are guaranteed to update that contact in Nutshell

This means that you can import from Quickbooks as often as you’d like without worrying about duplicates. As soon as you complete that very first Quickbooks import, we pin those Nutshell contacts so that you can always update them accurately during future Quickbooks imports.


Protip: use Nutshell Forms instead of a third party form builder to automatically de-dupe any new people based on email address, and companies based on name!

Our engineers recently released some amazing new capabilities that enable you to find existing companies, people, and leads in Nutshell with a Zap. You’ll be able to add a Find step to your Zaps first, which will check Nutshell for existing pages and only create a new contact if they do not already exist.

  • People can be found using an exact email address match. If they don’t already exist in Nutshell, we’ll create a new Person.

  • Companies can be found with an exact name match. Just like with People, we’ll create a new Company if they don’t already exist in Nutshell.

  • Leads can be found using an exact email address match for any people or companies associated with that lead. One more time for the people in the back, we’ll create a new Lead in Nutshell if they don’t already exist.

Sound cool to you? We think so too! You can learn more about exactly how to do this with Zapier in this article.

Wufoo and Unbounce

Protip: use Nutshell Forms instead of a third party form builder to automatically de-dupe any new people based on email address, and companies based on name!

These form builders are specifically designed to pull new leads into Nutshell from your webform submissions. They are direct importers, which means that every time a form is submitted a new lead and any corresponding people and companies are created in Nutshell. Existing companies and people will not be updated based on email address or name matches, so we’ve got a tip to help you keep an eye out for duplicates that slip in through your web forms.

Every once in a while (maybe create a task to remind yourself), filter your list view by Origin to see all of the contacts created by Wufoo and/or Unbounce. Add a second filter for Duplicates to find any eager beavers that may have submitted a form multiple times and merge them together.

Are duplicates still sneaking into your account? Email us at and we’ll be glad to help.

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