October 2010 Tips and Tricks

Excel Tips to Help You Manage Imports

In light of our new Excel Import tool, we would like to help you learn some helpful features and shortcuts in Excel to make it even easier.

When creating an ImportKey, it is best to create a numbering system so that you never repeat the same number twice. I prefer to use the date followed by a number (NN) starting with “01” creating a system following YYMMDDNN or MMDDYYNN. If you import more than 99 contacts in a day, you may want to use a 3 digit number (NNN). To easily number each of your contacts, use the Fill function after entering the first ImportKey number.

You can see the Fill handle when you move your cursor over the bottom right corner of the highlighted cell. Your cursor will turn to a smaller black plus sign. You can use Fill to have Excel identify patterns or copy cells by clicking on the handle and dragging it down the column or row. To switch between copying cells and following the pattern, hold down the CTRL (Windows) key when you are dragging. When using Fill for your ImportKey, you need to hold down control if you only have one number highlighted.

Text to Columns
DonorSnap requires that first names and last names be in separate columns when importing. Does that mean that you have to manually separate the first and last name from a cell containing them both? The answer is, “Maybe, but maybe not.” The Text to Columns function can use characters such as a space, semicolon, comma, colon, period, or others to split up cells. CAUTION: If cells are not consistent in only containing one word first names and one word last names, names will be split into more than two columns and will erase data in the cells that it is replacing.

After you have entered your data in your spreadsheet, use the Filter tool to check your entries for inconsistencies. It creates a column filter that shows you each different entry used in that column. This can help find entries referring to the same item in different ways. For example, if I had a fundraiser called Summer Picnic 2009, but used Summer Picnic August 2009 to refer to the same event, the filter would show me that both entries are being used. I can then change each “Summer Picnic August 2009” entry to be “Summer Picnic 2009” as I want it to be grouped in DonorSnap.

Use Formulas
If you are creating a template that you will use regularly, it can help to use formulas. Helpful formulas may include =TODAY() to insert a date that will automatically adjust or =CONCATENATE(text1,text2…) to combine multiple cells into one (especially helpful for importing notes ). For more commonly used formulas, visit Microsoft's help web site.

Do you have another tip that would be beneficial to other DonorSnap users? Send us an email and let us know.

Generic Excel Import Template

Do you need help organizing your data under the appropriate headings? Download the Excel Import Template to get you started.

Watch the Excel Import Training Webinar

Did you miss the Excel Import training webinar? Well don't worry because we recorded it! Watch the Excel Import Training Video here.