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Of course you can, but in order for anyone to provide specifics, you'd need to provide more detail on the data that you want to import.
Are you importing one group at a time or multiple groups?
If importing one group at a time, you can assign the set of newly imported records all to one group.
Does your data include a field that identifies the groups?
If so, then you can use the data in that field to assign your imported contacts to groups.
I imported everything already and the "categories" field did not allow my to create a field on import. Should I start over?
Is there a tutorial online that can guide me?
Do you have a field in your imported data that identifies the group for each contact?
If so, then most of the work is already done.
The categories don't seem very organized. When they came over they were formatted automatically.
The list of categories delimited by commas are something we can work with. But where there is no category at all, then you'd need to import again or manually assign that contact to groups.
But tell me more about how you want to use these groups. We can just have them be a list of check boxes in that groups field with boxes selected for each group, or maybe you need to record information about each group as well?
So which will you need for your groups?
Check boxes seems best to me. This is for mailing lists that I will send out in a regular basis to art directors and communications people. So one day I may send out an email blast to magazine art directors and then on another day I may send out emails to anther group. Many people will have more than one group designation.
If I re-export the list as groups then would I not have a lot of duplicates?
OK, but might you want to keep track of each time you do something like that for a given group? Something like a log where you document what you sent out and when? That's where a related table for groups and a join table to link a contact to multiple groups comes in, so that you can associate data with a given group...
Yes re-importing the data could very well produce duplicates. If you are at the very start of setting this up, if you can figure out what went wrong with the previous import, you can delete all your current records and try again, but this is just one option that I've mentioned. Another option would be to manually assign contacts to groups for those where this data failed to import.
And if each contact's full name is unique with no exceptions, then it would be possible to re-import the data and only update the groups field.
In any case, you are headed towards moving the lists of groups names from the current field into a separate table of groups. This table might serve as just the value source for a value list that makes check boxes possible or it can be part of a more sophisticated system where you also record additional information about each group. Creating the records in this groups table will require a script that a) loops through every record that lists groups and b) loops through the list of groups in the group field and adds then to the Groups table, if such a group does not already exist.
How's your scripting capabilities?
Yes, I do want to keep track of the emailers that go out so I don't send the same email out twice to the same person.
Hmmm. I don't know how to script yet. For the moment I am looking for the easies and most efficient way to bring the data over coherently and with little confusion as possible. If I have to bring them in groups and then correct I can go that route if necessary.
Is it possible to merge duplicates once I bring them over in groups?
If you read my last post again, yes, there is an import option that you can use that would only update the groups field.
But only if you can tell duplicate contacts from contacts that happen to have the same name.
But this still won't get you the groups that you need. That's where a script comes in--to process the list of groups into something that you can work with while avoiding the need to manually edit your data in order to assign groups.
OK, if I bring them over as groups, can I add group designations to just those groups.
For example if I bring over group called "Alumni Magazines” then another group that is called “Aerospace”, there may be duplicates. Can I search for and merge duplicates then make sure they are assigned the correct groupings?
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Yes--this now a question that I've answered 3 times. BUT only if your names are unique. If you have two or more contacts with the same first and last names--as is quite possible to have, then this is not possible without having some problems with the records where the contacts have the same name.
There's an Import Records option that allows you to "update matching records of found set". TO use this option, you first show all records in the table into which you are importing records and then when setting up the import, you select the first and last name fields as matching fields and select the option that adds new records for any that do not match.
You can then use replace field contents with the calculation option to select a check box in the groups field to assign all records of the found set to the same group.