Update Records on Import

Update Records on Import

Success at Copper avatar
Written by Success at Copper
Updated over a week ago

Our update on import feature is a very useful tool that is part of our Import functionality. It allows you to update a large quantity of records in Copper without all of the manual work. For example, if your marketing team has new information about your Leads, or you need to add Titles for a number of your People records, update on import can help.

Please note: As update on import may affect previously configured visibility settings, we recommend that only Admin users make use of this feature.

How it works

Update on import allows you to import new records or update existing records by deciding what to do if duplicates are found between your import file and your existing Copper records.

When you are importing a file, you are able to choose a "key" field to match records between the file and Copper. When matched, you then have the option to update the record inside of Copper with the new fields you are importing.

Note: The Copper ID field, emails, phone numbers, and company domain fields cannot be updated

Phone numbers and/or websites will be added as additional fields to records with existing phone numbers and/or websites.


1. Upload your file

Update on import can be enabled after you have selected your import file (Settings -> Import Data -> Select a category -> Import your file). After importing your file, click the Manage matching records check box. This will also reveal options for How do you want to handle matched records, and Identify matching records by.

manage matching records.png

Here's some information on each of those settings:

  1. Manage matching records - check this box to reveal the next two options.

  2. Skip or Overwrite - if the import tool finds a match, what should it do? Should it skip (ignore) the new data you uploaded? Or should it use it to overwrite what already exists in the system with what you have in the spreadsheet?

  3. Identify matching records - this is where you select your key field.

2. Identify the Key

Next, you will choose what field you want to identify matching records by (known as your "key"

field). The "key"

field is what will be used to match records between your import file and your Copper system.


The following chart shows what fields you can use depending on the type of import you are doing.

For example, below I have selected to match by "Email." Once you select Email as the key, it will ask you to select the column that is associated with Email. NOTE: it has to be EMAIL. It cannot be work email.

You can also update your records by Copper ID. To get the ID, export your data from Settings > Manage Your Data > Export Data. The ID field should be in the far right in the exported spreadsheet.

3. How do you want to handle matched records? Please select "Skip" or "Overwrite"

a. Skip

By default "Skip" will be selected. “Skip” means that the import record will not be imported and no change will be made to the matching record in the system.


For example, if you are matching by Email, it means that it will only update records that do not match the emails in the "Email" selected column of your import.

b. Overwrite

“Overwrite” means that the import record will update the matched record with the columns in your import file.


For example, if you are matching by email and choosing overwrite, records that match the email in your import will be overwritten, but only if any data has changed.

4. Click "Continue Import"

If you have chosen "Overwrite", you will see the following warning before completing your import. You will need to type IMPORT on the red line (in capitals) to continue. Since updating records can have a significant impact on your data, we suggest you start with a test import of 5-10 records.

5. Your import will initialize and complete

Screen Shot 2023-08-01 at 4.03.23 PM.png

6. Try clicking "Summary" when it is complete

Clicking the Summary of your import will bring up information about your import, including the number of records added or changed.

import summary.png

What to take into account

There are some important things to take into account when using the update on import feature.

  • You cannot revert an import that used the "overwrite" feature. You can, however, use the excel backup to update the changed records to their previous state.

  • If you have duplicates in your import file and you are "overwriting", the last duplicate in the file will be what the record is updated to.

  • Updating Email Address will not replace the current email address, but will instead add a second email address.

  • If email address is used as the "key", it will match to ANY email stored in Copper as a match (ex. if you have people records with multiple email addresses, each email address will be searched).

  • If the "key" matches two records, the record with the most recent system update to it will be updated.

  • Update on import functionality is available to any user with import privileges.

  • If you want to enter new tags, follow our guide on importing tags onto existing records.

  • If you want to enter new multi-select options, please enter the new and the old multi-select data. Multi-select will overwrite all existing options.

Other tips

  • Prepare your import file first. If you are updating records, only have columns for the "key" field, and any fields you plan on updating.

  • Start with a test of 5-10 records.

  • Update on Import is not intended as a data quality tool, but more of a data enrichment tool. We still suggest that you only import clean data into the system.

  • See our article on common issues with importing data here.

  • Generally, we recommend updating by Copper ID. To get the ID, export your data, the ID field is in the far right of the exported spreadsheet. Then, when uploading the new spreadsheet, match by Copper ID. The image below is a use case where the customer wants to update all the company names, and is uploading the new names using Copper ID.

  • If you are importing data from a previous system and would like to preserve your legacy or original record creation date, you can do so by using our “Created At” field during your import.

    During your import, simply map the data column containing your legacy record creation date to the “Created At” field. You can also paste your legacy creation dates into the “Created At” field which can be found in all of our pre-formatted import templates.

Still have questions?

Still have questions? Ask in our Community, and get answers from our Customer Success Team as well as fellow users.

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