Import Data from Other QuickBase Applications

If you've created several applications to hold your data, you probably have a good reason for storing that data separately. At some point, however, you may want to gather data in one place to track or compare records across multiple applications. For example, a manager responsible for many separate projects (each stored in its own application) may want a way to view progress on all of them at once.

The Import from Table feature lets you solve problems like this by moving data across applications. You can collect data from many separate applications and feed it into one application. You can pick the specific fields and records that you want to extract and consolidate them in one or more tables. Then you can view and sort the results however you wish.

What you can do with this feature

There are two types of imports:

  1. A Merge import takes records from one or many applications and merges them with existing records. This kind of import lets you import the same information over and over again, because QuickBase will never duplicate a record during a merge. Use a Merge import to do things like:

    1. NOTE: You can use a Merge import repeatedly, so that records your destination application match the latest updates in the source application. However, a merge import won't delete records that have been deleted in the source table.

  2. A Copy import moves records "as is" into your new application. When you copy records, QuickBase appends, or adds, each imported record to the destination application. Copy won't replace or update existing records, even if they match exactly. So, you'll end up with duplicate records in the new application. Select copy in the following scenarios:

If you're creating a Merge import, follow all the steps below. If you're creating a Copy import, skip ahead to the section called Create the destination application.

Prepare source tables for import

Say you'd like to merge task records from all your project applications together in one table. You'd like to do this every week so you can keep up with progress in different departments. No problem. You can set up an import and repeat it each week. But how do you ensure that the records you imported last week will be replaced with their updated versions this week?

In order for a merge like this to work, QuickBase needs a way to match records in the source table with corresponding records in the destination table. You make this possible by setting up special fields in both tables that will hold unique matching values. This is called a merge key.

Get started by creating a new field in the source table. Keep in mind that you'll eventually import this field's values into the destination table (which may include data from multiple tables). So, you want records in this field to be unique (like those in a key field) and also to indicate what source table they came from. Meet both requirements at once by filling this field with a combination of the table name and key field value (usually Record ID#). Doing so ensures that no two records will have duplicate values in the merge field of your destination table and you'll always know where each record originated.

To prepare each of the source tables:

  1. Open the source application.

  2. Add a field to hold the new record identifier you'll create. Add a field to the source table. Name it something like "ExportID" and under field type, select Formula - Text.

  3. Create a formula for the new field. Click the name of the new field to display the Field's Properties. Within the Formula box, type the formula that creates a combination of table name and key field value (usually Record ID#). This should be something like "TableName-" & [Record ID#]. For example, if your table is called Tasks this would be "Tasks-" & [Record ID#]. Then click Save. If you get an error message, check your formula to make sure the field name matches exactly and that you haven't left out any characters. (Read more about using formulas.)

  4. Repeat the steps above for each table that you want to import into the application you're about to create.

Create the destination application

Create the destination application, including the destination table(s) into which you'll import the source data. While creating the new table, add fields that correspond with fields you want to import from your other applications. These field names can match those in the source tables or they can be different. Later, when you set your import preferences, you'll be able to map which source field's data should feed into which destination field or just let QuickBase match up fields that have identical names.

If you're creating a Merge import and you followed steps within the preceding section, Prepare source tables for import, you need to perform one more step before you configure the import. Within the destination table, create a new field to hold the merge key values from your source table(s). To do so, add a field (text type), name it something like SourceID. This field must be unique (in other words, it cannot contain duplicate values). So, turn on the Require unique values for all entries in this field checkbox. The first time you merge records during an import, QuickBase populates this field with the merge key values from the source table. During any merge after that, QuickBase will match these values in order to update matching records in your new application.

Import to the destination table

You'll begin the import by telling QuickBase where to get the source data and exactly what data you want. Once you've configured all your preferences, you can import the data to populate your new application. If you'll be repeating the same import often to see updated information on a regular basis, you can save the import settings. Doing so speeds future imports and ensures that they are identical.

To import to the destination table:

  1. From anywhere within your new application, select Customize > Import/Export.

  2. Select the Import into a table from another table radio button.

  3. An Import from another table link appears. Click this link.

    The Import from Table screen displays.

  4. If you have multiple tables in your new application, click the tab containing the name of the destination table.

  5. Click Create a new import.

  6. Click Choose a source table. QuickBase displays a list of applications to which you have access and which live in the same billing account as the destination application.

  7. Click the radio button to the left of the Application containing the source data and click OK. A list of tables in that application appears.

  8. Click the radio button to the left of the table containing the source data and click OK. QuickBase displays additional import setting options.

  9. Within the Import type section, select one of the following:

  10. Set the merge key field. Here you'll tell QuickBase to take the values from the new combination field you created in the source table(s) (see the first section, Prepare source tables for import) and merge them together into your new application's merge key field. To do so, click the Source Field dropdown on the right and select the formula field you created in the source table (which combined table name and Record ID#). Next, click the Merge Key Field dropdown and select the merge key field you created in your destination table (see Create the destination table section above). Note that the only fields available in this dropdown are unique fields (refer back to the Create Destination Table section for more on unique fields).

  11. Tell QuickBase what criteria the data should match. In the Filtering section, QuickBase lets you choose which records you'd like to import:

    If you want to get all records from the new table, click Import all.

    If you want only records that meet certain criteria, click Import records that meet the following criteria. Doing so displays criteria dropdown boxes which you can use to set whatever parameters you wish. (Learn more about how to set criteria.)

  12. Map fields. The Field Mapping section lets you tell QuickBase where it should put the data it gets from a each field in your source table.

    If your destination table has field names that exactly match those in your source table, click Default Mapping. To the right of this setting, QuickBase shows you how many fields the program has been able to match up.

    If your field names don't match, or you want to tell QuickBase to import data from a source field into a specific destination field with a different name, click Custom Mapping. Selecting this option displays a table that lets you match (or "map") source fields and destination fields one by one. All fields in the destination table are automatically listed on the left. Use the dropdown lists in the Source Field column on the right to select the source field QuickBase should draw data from to populate the corresponding destination field.

    1. FAQ - I don't see my File Attachment field. Why not?

      You cannot import file attachments. If you map a source file attachment field to a text field, the text showing the field name will copy, but files won't.

  13. Click Import or Import and Save to populate your new table. If you'll be repeating this import again, click Import and Save. QuickBase saves your settings and imports the data at the same time. Then, the next time you select the Import from Table function to populate this destination table, you won't need to configure import options again. Instead, you'll just run the saved import.


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