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Eyal Vardi

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How to use the Data Enrichment (re-import) feature in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

How to use the Data Enrichment (re-import) feature in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 (although officially, it doesn’t exist…)

The Data Enrichment feature allows updating existing data by exporting it from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to Excel, modify it in externally and then re-import it, updating the existing records with the new data. This feature is very useful in scenarios where mass update is required for existing data or when you need an external party to add data to your existing CRM records.
Unfortunately, this useful feature was removed from the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 RTM version. I am not sure why, some claim it is potentially harmful and can make a mess of existing data.

The surprising news is that you can still use this non existing feature. How? Here is an example:

In this example scenario, I want to update all my contacts with new data: email address.

  1. Select an existing view or edit a new view using the Advanced Find. Make sure the columns you want to add data to are included
    Select records to export

  2. Export the view data using the ‘Export to dynamic worksheet’ option and save it.
    Select export type
  3. Open the exported file, select all records, go to the Format menu, select Column sub menu and then the Unhide option. A new column should appear, containing the records GUIDs.
    Select all data
    Unhide the GUID column
  4. Rename the GUIDs Column to the name of the exported entity for example ‘Contact’. Move the column to the left of all other columns.
    Move GUID column to the far left
  5. Update the required data. In this example, the email data is added to the existing records.
    Add the new data
  6. Save the Excel file as .csv file.
  7. Use the Import Wizard tool in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to import the newly created .csv file. Select ‘none’ for Data Delimiter, ‘Comma (,)’ for field Delimiter. 
    Select file and delimiters in data import wizard
  8. Click next and select the exported entity, ‘Contact’ in this example. You can see the ‘Enrich data by updating records rather than creating new records.’ option available and checked. Select a data map if required and click next
    Notice the checked Enrich data option
  9. Check the ‘Import duplicate records’ option and click next
    Check import duplication records
  10. Complete the import process.
  11. Go to the workplace and open the data import section. Once the data import job is done, open the the job records and see which records were updated. Notice that existing records were updated, no new records were created.
    Go back to the exported view
  12. Finally, refresh the view you started with to see the updated data for the existing records.
    Refresh the view to see the updated records

Although the product Help file still regards this feature as available, I consider this an unsupported feature. Use the above method at your own risk.

Note: A record will not be updated if it has been changed in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 after it was exported.

Posted: Jun 17 2009, 11:09 PM by Vardi | with 32 comment(s)
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Comments

Jeff said:

Great post... very thorough.  I can't seem to get the GUIDs column to appear.  Is there something special about the way you save it (XML, XLSX?) or the way you select the data that allows you to reveal the GUID column?

# July 9, 2009 12:16 AM

Graeme said:

Same here. I cannot see the GUID columns nor do I see the "Enrich data" option on import... Any ideas?

# September 16, 2009 11:26 AM

tahsin said:

make sure you exported the data in a dynamic worksheet. As for the "Enrich data" option, you must change delimiters to make it work.

# December 14, 2009 5:24 AM

Phil said:

Just as a fair warning, last time I checked, this blog will only apply to CRM On-premise and hosted editions, but not to CRM Online. This is because CRM online doesn't give you the hidden columns with the guids last time I tried to do this (I think because it goes through you Outlook Client for a connection to CRM online in Excel). However, it probably doesn't matter because CRM Online has their own import process that does updating without needing to do this sort of thing.

Thoughts? I might be wrong here or my info might be out of date.

# January 21, 2010 2:50 PM

Yair said:

Unbelieveable - I have been looking for something like this for the past year.

Thanks!!!

Yair

# February 23, 2010 10:25 AM

Fred said:

in a past comment you state for the "Enrich data" option, you must change delimiters to make it work.  How do you go about doing that?

# March 31, 2010 11:27 AM

Lee said:

Well, this would be great. Exporting to a dynamic sheet it loads Excel and then Excel shows me the test from the login screen for Dynamics. how can I sign in via Excel to get the !"£$%^& data?

# June 8, 2010 6:59 AM

Sharon Li said:

Can you change the "Assign To" name to a different user than the default which is the current user? Thanks!

# June 8, 2010 12:25 PM

Roxana said:

If you don´t see the "Enrich data" is because you write the "Contact" column in your language.

Ex:

If you are using the entity "Contacto" write Contacto in the column header, then it works.

# September 22, 2010 6:27 PM

Roxana said:

Hello,

I m trying to update the Parent Customer, can I?.. I just get "The record is empty".

Thanks,.

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I tried Name, Guid, {Guid}, everything.. but I always get: The record is Empty.

Any idea?

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# February 1, 2012 7:28 PM

Menno said:

Went through the steps as posted. When importing the enriched data, however, I do not get the checkbox to "Enrich data by updating existing records rather than creating new records". I'm lost...

# March 21, 2012 4:28 PM

Vivian said:

As a test, I tried to change a phone call.  The import fails and I receive an error saying "Import has encountered an error and has been canceled.  Your system has been restored to its original state.  At least one attribute mapped has its IsSystem attribute set to 1, etc".  The error code is 0x8004800f.  

Any idea why this is happening?

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# November 17, 2013 9:49 AM

Cecelia said:

This post was incredibly helpful - and I've already done a number of re-imports successfully.  However, the past few I've tried, I keep getting an error message (and the import can't even start). All it says is:

"An error has occurred.  Try this action again.  If the problem continues, check the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Community for solutions or contact your organizations Microsoft Dynamics CRM Administrator. Finally you can contact Microsoft Support."

I've "tried the actions" several times again and keep getting the same error - but it doesn't give me any hint as to what's wrong. I've restarted my computer, re-exported the same data and saved a new document, gone over all my data fields again and again ---I can't seem to figure it out. Any help??

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