Import accounts, leads, or other data

Whether your data is stored in spreadsheets, databases, or other systems, you’ll probably want to import the data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM so you can keep track of all your customer information in one place.

You can import any type of information, such as accounts, leads, or opportunities – even activities or cases. (The different types of information are called “record types.”)


Your import will fail if you use a template that you exported from CRM, add a new column to it, and then try to import the data back into CRM Online.


Want to import contacts? More information: Import contacts

Step 1: Get your import file ready

First, you’ll need to get your data into a file.

Make sure your data is as complete and accurate as possible when you create the import file. Fill in any missing info, and verify that names and other information are spelled correctly.

These file formats are supported:

  • Comma-separated values (.csv)

  • Text (.txt)

  • Compressed (.zip)

  • Excel Spreadsheet 2003 (.xml)

  • Excel Workbook (.xlsx)

The maximum file size allowed for .zip files is 32 MB. For the other file formats, the maximum file size allowed is 8 MB.


If you need to import a larger amount of data, check out MSDN: Import data for additional details.

You can add multiple import files to a single .zip file, and then import the .zip file to bring in all the files at once. For example, if several salespeople enter leads from a tradeshow into different spreadsheets, you can gather them into one .zip file for import.

For best results, it’s a good idea to make sure you (or your CRM admin, if that’s someone else) have some rules in place to reduce any duplicates when you import the data (called “duplicate detection rules”). More information: Set up duplicate detection rules to keep your data clean

Step 2: Run the Import Data wizard

You’ll use the Import Data wizard to import the file.

  1. Go to Settings > Data Management.

  2. Choose Imports > Import Data.

  3. Browse to the folder where you saved the file that contains the import file. Select the file, and then choose Open. Then, choose Next.


    You can import only one file at a time. To bring in more files, run the wizard again later, or add all your import files to a single .zip file.

  4. Review the file name, and if the file is in .xlsx, .xml, .csv, .txt or .zip format, verify that the field and data delimiters are correct. Then, choose Next.


    In most cases, you can accept the default delimiters.

  5. Select how the wizard determines which fields to use for the data.

    • Select Default (Automatic Mapping) if you want the wizard to determine the corresponding fields in Microsoft Dynamics CRM automatically. If the wizard can’t find a field, you’ll have the opportunity to “map” it yourself.

      -- OR --

    • Select For Generic Contact and Account Data if your import file contains contacts and accounts (and contacts are the main type of data).

      -- OR --

    • Select For BCM 2010 if your import file contains your contacts from Microsoft Outlook 2010 with Business Contact Manager.

      -- OR --

    • If available for your organization, select a custom data map. (You’ll see them in the list if they’re available to you.)

  6. Choose Next.

  7. If prompted, in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Record Types drop-down list, select the type of records you are importing, for example Account or Lead. Then, choose Next.

  8. For any record type with an alert icon, map the field from your import file to a corresponding field in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Scroll to see the whole list. Then, choose Next.

  9. Review the summary, and then choose Next.

  10. Select additional import settings.

    • If it’s okay for the Import Data wizard to import duplicate records, in the Allow Duplicates section, select Yes.


      In most cases, to avoid importing duplicate information, you should keep this option set to No.

    • To set who owns the imported records, in the Select Owner for the Imported Records section, choose the Lookup button . Select Look Up More Records, type the person’s name, and then choose Add.


      How do you decide who should “own” the imported data? Usually, the owner is the person responsible for taking action on the data. Here’s an example: If your import file contains contacts you collected at a trade show and you want to assign a user to follow up with these contacts, select that person for the owner. To assign someone other than yourself as the owner of the imported records, your security role must include permissions to create records for the user. If you don’t have sufficient permissions, the wizard assigns you as the owner of the imported records by default.

    • To save these import settings so you can use them again, enter a name for the settings (called a “data map”).

      The next time you run the Import Data wizard, you’ll see the new data map listed under Custom Maps.

  11. Choose Submit.

  12. To verify that the wizard was successful, choose Imports, and then review the report. Otherwise, choose Finish.

Applies To

Dynamics CRM 2013

Dynamics CRM 2015

Dynamics CRM 2016

Dynamics CRM Online