How To Import Members Via CSV File



Importing members can be a bit of a tricky process due to the fact that all of the data entered must be simple, clean text (no formatting, line breaks, or other things that can break a CSV file), and the data must all be in the proper columns in order to import properly.

To start, here are some files that will help with understanding how the import process works:

The template and example files that have "ALL fields" included show all of the different fields that can be filled out for a member during import. 

However, not all imports will need to make use of all of these fields, so we also included a simple / basic version of each that has the most commonly used fields. Importing custom variables is also possible.

Downloading the File

  1. Download one of the CSV import templates shown above.

    In row 1 of this file, one will see all of the headers required to import the data. Make sure  not to edit the spelling of any of these headers, as doing so will cause the import to fail. In row 2 of this file, one will see an explanation of what kind of text should be added into each column.

  2. Once understood the content that should be added into each column, delete the content of row 2 from the spreadsheet (if it is not removed, the explanations will be imported as a member of the site!)

  3. Enter all of the member data into the correct columns

  4. Delete any empty columns from the spreadsheet - for example, if no data is entered in the twitter column, one can delete this column from the spreadsheet completely. This will reduce the size of the import file and speed up the import process.

Add Categories to a CSV Import Spreadsheet

There are 2 columns on the far right of the spreadsheet- "profession_name" and "services":

Top Categories

Under "profession_name" put the Top Level Category for the listing to be imported into. For example, if we were doing this for the Local Dessert Shops Directory then I could add “Ice Cream Shop” in this column.

The Membership Plan Settings also allow to pre-assign the Top level category to all profiles in that membership plan. For more information on how to do this, please refer to step 2 in the following article.

Sub Categories + Sub-Sub Categories

In the "services" column, please add a comma-separated list of Sub Level Categories and Sub-Sub Level Categories one would like the listing added into.

For example, for the listing added into the Top Level Category “Ice Cream Shop”, one could add the Sub Level Categories "Ice Cream,Ice Cream Cake,Ice Cream Cupcake" (since these are all Sub Level Categories of “Ice Cream Shop” that apply to this listing). If one would like a listing imported into ALL Sub Level Categories under the Top Level Category it is being imported into (as designated in the profession_name column), then one could simply put "all" under the services column.

Please note that all of the Top Level Categories and Sub Level Categories entered into this spreadsheet must be spelled exactly the same as they are in the category structure in the Directory Planner.

If there are several sub or sub-sub-categories with the same name, it is possible to select which specific sub-category to assign the member to.

1) Specify the sub-category first followed by this sign: =>
2) Specify the sub-sub category, following this example:

sub level=>sub-sub level (Ice Cream Cake=>Vanilla Cake)

NOTE: Both Sub and Sub-Sub Level Categories should be entered under the "services" column, separated by a comma.

Helpful Tips

  1. If any columns are blank in the import file, it is always best to delete the entire column. This is also mentioned above, but is a very common issue that people run into! For example, if none of the members which are going to import have any data for the "fees" column, it is best to delete this column entirely before import.

  2. Some US zip codes begin with a zero or multiple zeros, which Excel and other spreadsheet programs sometimes remove automatically. Make sure all of the zip_codes are formatted as text and have all of the required 0’s at the beginning of the zipcode

  3. If one is entering data for the logo, profile_photo, website, twitter, facebook, linkedin, or google_plus fields, be sure to use full URLs including the http:// (EG:

  4. Make sure all listings have something entered into either the company or name field (or first_name and last_name fields) to insure that there will be a title for each listing.

  5. Make sure to enter either Company or Individual into the listing_type field for each listing (Entering "Company" will make the company name more prominent in the listing; entering "Individual" will make the name of the person more prominent in the listing) *Our variables are case sensitive so make sure to capitalize the first letter for these.

  6. Add the Top Level category for each listing into the profession_name column. Please note that this must be spelled exactly the same as the category is spelled in the directory, or they will not import correctly. (See the section of this article above titled "How to Add Categories to a CSV Import Spreadsheet" for more tips)

  7. (OPTIONAL) Add a comma-separated list of Sub Level Categories in each listing imported into in the services column (See the section of this article above titled "How to Add Categories to a CSV Import Spreadsheet" for more tips).

  8. For best results, it is recommended to first create the Category Structure in your site before importing your members into these categories. For more information on how to create categories for members, please review this article.

  9. The fields "name" and " first_name + last_name" will create a conflict if they are both populated in the file.

    Simply make sure that only "name" or "first_name + last_name" are populated. Either one will import the name of the listing successfully.

Import the File

  1. Navigate to the Search Members section of the admin. On the upper right-hand corner of the page, there will be a dropdown selection called "Member List Actions"  where one can select the import option from the dropdown as seen below.

  2. The Import settings will allow the user to select the membership plan the new listings will belong to. This is required to begin the import.

  3. A second option will allow the admin to determine the status of the listings upon import.

  4. The Advanced Options will allow the import to:

    - Pass unique email checks

    - Create new categories from the file if they have not been added to the admin yet.

    - Geocode the users based on the location added to the CSV file. To use this function, add the "Pretty URLS API Key": Set Up Pretty URLs with Google Maps

    - Auto import profile photo and logo images - Member Images: Importing Members with Profile Photos, Logos & Cover Photos

  5. "Step 2. Upload CSV File Here" will allow the user to select a CSV import file from the computer.

  6. Once the file is selected, simply select "Begin File Import" for the upload to begin.

  7. A variable selection module will display on screen with the list of all of the variable names present in the import file. When using the default import templates without any type of variable modification, we recommend to perform the import as is.

  8. If the import file includes custom variables which may have been added to forms prior to the import, the same module will display them on the left side of the columns with an example of a value next to it. There will be a dropdown option which will allow the admin to create the new variable name as an import field:

    A list of existing variables will display from that dropdown, this will only show variables with previous information saved. Should the new variable be missing from the selection, the "Create New Property" will allow the admin to create the variable name for a successful import:

    Type in the new variable name and click on Add to add the new variable to the system. Make sure to exclude spaces, uppercase letter or special characters:

    Use the search box at the top to find the new variable and click on it to lock in the new variable name.

  9. An option to disregard a variable from being imported is also available:


  10. Click Continue with import, this will prompt one last verification for the import, simply click continue for the file to be imported. 

Important Note: An error message titled Import File Exceeds Member Limit will display if the member limit is reached:

Once the import is completed a message is going to pop up to Sync the members with Google Maps:

"It is recommended to sync all newly imported members with Google Maps so they are searchable by location. Sync members now?" 

To learn more information regarding member limits, please refer to the article down below:

100,000 Member Limit Boost

Geocode Members

After importing the members, please follow these steps in the link below:

Import Profile Images (optional)

To complete the import of member images and logos, please refer to the link below:

Member Images: Importing Members With Profile Photos, Logos & Cover Photos

For the Cover Photo to appear on the profile this Add-on must be active on the website Profile Cover Photo.

Get Personal Assistance

We understand that this can be a challenging process, even for some users that are more technically inclined. If one would prefer that someone on our team assists with the import of the members, we have Training Sessions covering importing members. Use the link below to purchase this service: Training Sessions

Important Notes

  • The files below should be downloaded to the computer and viewed in a spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets or another similar application.
  • Service Areas can't be imported at this time, this might be something we add in the future.