You need to be logged into Xero & on the Import Contacts screen in order to access the Contacts template link
Use the Xero template
Contacts need to be imported into Xero in the CSV format from a .csv or .txt file using a template that Xero can use to map values in your file to Contact fields in Xero.
From the Import Contacts screen, click on the 'Download template file' link to save or open a blank template containing the headings under which you need to enter or copy your contacts' details. Depending on how your computer is set up, the CSV template provided by Xero will most likely open in Excel.
Export first & update
If you already have some contacts in Xero and want to add a whole lot more, or make some changes to the contacts you already have, you can Export your Contacts from Xero in the CSV format ready for you to make updates to.
If you're importing contacts into an organisation that already has contacts, or you want to edit your current contacts offline, take note of the points below that describe what happens when you import updated contacts back into Xero.
Copy contacts from another system like MYOB, Quickbooks, Sage, Outlook, Entourage or any CRM system that you can export your contacts or address book from
Enter or copy your contacts into the CSV file
Whether you started with the blank Xero template or have got a file of your contacts exported from Xero or another system, enter or change contacts in the columns provided in the CSV file.
If you have started with the blank template, make sure you enter or copy information from another exported file into the right columns on the template, one contact per row.
If you're not familiar working with CSV files, you'll probably find it easier to use Excel because you can work with your data in columns rather than in a straight line separated by commas as with a text editing program.
Contacts exported from Xero
If you're updating a file that you've exported from Xero make sure you keep the updated information within the same original columns.
Tips & rules for entering contacts
Enter your contacts to the CSV file one contact per row.
- Ensure you save in CSV format (like 'somefilename.csv'). If in doubt when using Excel, save the file again ensuring it is saved as one of the CSV file types, e.g. CSV (MS-DOS) or CSV (Comma delimited).
- Xero will also accept comma separated values in a text-based file (created by a program like Notepad or Text Edit) which when saved will have a name like 'somefilename.txt'.
- You must leave the first row in place as the header row and all columns must all be present and in the same order as the template file or the file you've exported from Xero. If you're copying data from another system, make sure you use this exact format. If you delete the header row Xero will not import your file.
- Xero understands the order of the columns or comma separated values to determine which fields in Xero to put the contact information you've entered.
- The CSV file is essentially 'mapped' column or group of columns to fields in Xero so by completing contact information column by column you're essentially 'filling in' the fields in Xero automatically.
E.g. Name column goes to Name field; EmailAddress column goes to Email Address field; POAddressLine1, POAddressLine2, POAddressLine3 and POAddressLine4 all go to Street Address or PO Box field; POCity column goes to Town/City field and so on.
- All columns except Name are optional. If you have no use for a column e.g. none of your contacts has State/Region, you may either leave the relevant column blank, or you can simply delete the columns you don't need.
- Every contact entered must at least have a name and it must be unique. All other columns can be left blank or removed if required.
- If you enter more than one contact with the same name, regardless of whether all the other information is different, Xero will treat them as duplicates and will just import the first of the contacts with the same name. You cannot enter 2 contacts with the same name in Xero either.
- The data entered in the EmailAddress, FirstName and LastName columns will populate as the primary person in the contact. Additional people's details cannot be included in the import file - enter them in the contact in Xero when the import is completed.
- If you have created more than one tax code with the same name (e.g. with different tax rates), then Xero will only import the first tax code.
- The columns that require data to be entered in a specific format are the:
- EmailAddress - If you enter an email address make sure it's in an email format using @ and dots
- phone number fields - Enter full phone numbers with spaces between the different components of the phone number i.e. between the country code and area code, and between the area code and phone number itself. These are individual fields in Xero and the number will be added into these fields depending on the spacing you've used in any of the phone or fax number fields on your file
- Accounts Receivable GSTVATTax and Accounts Payable GSTVATTax - Make sure you use exactly the same name used in the Name field in the Tax Rates screen.
- Bank account number columns in Excel - you may need to change the number formatting to ensure that Excel is displaying your bank account numbers appropriately, e.g. not displaying numbers with decimal places. The numbers will not display correctly in Xero if they do not display correctly in the CSV file.
- Website - this must have http:// at the beginning of the address, for example, http://www.xero.com.
- Discount - enter the number to 2 d.p. and without the % sign.
- DueDateBillDay or DueDateSalesDay - Enter up to:
- 2 numbers, if you enter 'Current Month' or 'Following Month' in the DueDateBillTerm or DueDateSalesTerm field
- 3 numbers, if you enter 'Days After' in the DueDateBillTerm or DueDateSalesTerm field.
- DueDateBillTerm or DueDateSalesTerm - Enter one of the following (exactly, and with spaces and capitals):
- Current Month
- Following Month
- Days After
- All other columns can have any letters and numbers entered into them.
- You can’t enter the Xero Network key, or the Default currency if you’re using multi-currency, for your contacts in the CSV file. Enter these fields manually in the individual contact record in Xero.
- If you enter a branding theme in the BrandingTheme column, it must match exactly the name of the branding theme you have used in Settings > Invoice Settings.
- The order in which you enter your contacts on the CSV file doesn't matter; they can be alphabetical or as you enter them. Contacts are displayed in Xero alphabetically regardless of the order they are on the spreadsheet.
- You cannot distinguish on the CSV file between customers and suppliers. This will be determined in Xero when you enter customer invoices or supplier bills for a contact.
- If you are using Excel to create your CSV file take care not to enter figures and symbols which could be automatically reconfigured by Excel to read as dates or numbers or some other formula as this data will be imported as is into Xero.
- If the name field is empty or the email address is not formatted correctly or there are any other errors with your CSV Xero will tell you about these on the Import Summary screen where you can choose to proceed without the contacts that have errors or cancel the import process and make corrections to your CSV.
If you're working with a CSV file from another source and have opened it in Excel, make sure the comma separated data is spread across the columns under each relevant heading rather than all data displaying in the first column of the spreadsheet. Sometimes this happens by default if you open the CSV using Excel, to ensure the data displays correctly you might need to open Excel first then use the import feature in Excel to import the CSV data. If all your data appears as comma separated in the first column of the spreadsheet it will fail to import into Xero.
Convert TXT data into columns
Update existing contacts using the CSV import
If you've exported existing contacts from Xero into a CSV file, you can edit them and then import them into Xero.
As well as the above guidelines for putting new contacts into a CSV file, please take note of the following:
- Only the primary person's name and email address will be included in the exported file. If this is changed in the CSV file, it will overwrite the existing data in the contact on import.
- Additional people's names and email addresses in contacts are not included in the export file and are not affected by the import.
- If you import a new email address for an existing contact who is a recipient of repeating invoices, the repeating invoice template will not be updated.
Changing email addresses on repeating invoices
- You have a choice of how you want Xero to handle any empty fields (blank cells) in your CSV file. Xero can either ignore the empty fields or wipe any existing information from the corresponding fields in Xero.
- 'Ignore empty fields' - it will retain existing information.
- 'Empty fields should delete existing information' - it will allow any blank cells in your CSV file to wipe existing information from their corresponding fields in Xero. For example, if you remove all the data from the 'Email' column in your CSV file, and select this option, all your email addresses will be removed from your contacts in Xero.
If you add new contacts to those already in the file
- New contacts added to those already in the file will be imported into Xero as new contacts.
Contact names are unique identifiers
- If you want to change a contact's name, do this within Xero, not via the CSV import. Editing a contact in Xero to change its name will update any transactions and information that already exist for the contact with the new name.
- Keep the name the same if you want to update an existing Xero contact. If you change a contact's name in the CSV file, Xero will not recognise the new name as a contact already existing in Xero to update so will import it as a new contact (essentially creating a duplicate).
Removing, merging or restoring contacts
- You can't merge, archive or restore archived contacts via the CSV import. You can do these tasks within Xero.
- If you delete a contact (entire row) from the CSV, the contact will not be removed or archived in Xero. If you no longer want a contact to be active in Xero, you need to archive or merge it within Xero.
Contact types are not exported with the contact out of Xero
- If you're working with a CSV file of exported contacts you can't change any of this information. Transaction and grouping is retained in Xero and will still be the same when you import your updated CSV back into Xero. As described above, if you change the name of your contact, Xero will treat this as a new contact so no grouping or transactional information will be present for the contact in Xero.
If you've imported a file with information in the wrong columns
- If you previously imported a file into Xero with information in the wrong columns, you can export it back out to a CSV, make the necessary changes to move the data into the right columns and import it again.