CSV File Import

How to import CSV file into MacMassMailer

Written by Kirill Vasilyev on July 27, 2010 at 9:00 AM

CSV is an abbreviation which stands for Comma-Separated Values. It is also a standard plain-text file format used to store spreadsheet information. Files in CSV format are normally used to facilitate data exchange between different spreadsheet processors and databases such as Microsoft Office Excel, Open/Neo Office Spreadsheets, Google Docs, Apple iWork Numbers and so on.

MacMassMailer also supports CSV file format in Import Wizard to allow you to import information you have in your spreadsheets or database tables. Since MacMassMailer also supports CSV export, you can also move your MacMassMailer’s database back to any spreadsheet or database.

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In this article, I will teach and guide you through the steps on how to import a pre-created CSV file into MacMassMailer.

CSV is always a plain text file, normally in unicode UTF-8 or UTF-16 text encoding. Every line of the file represents one record (a single customer record) that contains information about your customer in the form of data fields (such as name, email address, phone number, etc.) separated by a comma(normally), semicolon or TAB.

If your spreadsheet or database table contains customers with Order, Name, Email, Product and Website columns, your CSV file would look as pictured below:


Note that the second example contains quotes around the data fields. The quote character is called Qualifier. Some spreadsheet processors or databases add it for better clarity in case if commas are used in the fields. Normally, either quotes or apostrophes are used as qualifiers. Comma here is called Field Separation Character or Delimiter. It can be comma, semicolon or TAB.

Importing a CSV file in MacMassMailer

To import recipients from a CSV file, you use the Import Wizard in MacMassMailer. To start, you click on the Import button in the main toolbar which is on top of the main window. At least one recipient group has to be created in order to accommodate the new recipients.

If you are importing not only email addresses and names, but also other information such as telephone numbers, products ordered and so on, you must create custom fields that will hold this information.

Let's import the CSV file we just created into MacMassMailer.

1. Start MacMassMailer and select the Fields node in the outline view (on the left side of the main window). Note, we do not have the following fields we need: "Order", "Product", and "Website". We have these fields in our CSV file, but we do not have them in our database. If you import our CSV file now, these fields will not be imported. To add a new custom field, click on the + button while the Fields node in the outline view is selected.

2. In the New Field dialog box, enter a name of the new field, macro name and default value. Field name is used as a label for the field everywhere in MacMassMailer in the user interface. Macro name is used in your message templates to reference this field. For instance, ORDER will be referenced as follows: {ORDER}. Default value is used in case the field is empty in your database for a particular recipient. This recipient will use the default value when the macro is resolved.

3. Press Ok to add the field. Then repeat the steps to add all the fields we need. After we add all 3 fields, our field list will look as follows.

4. Now, let us add a new recipient group that will hold the recipients we have in our CSV file. Select the Groups node in the outline view (on the left side of the main window), then click on the + button.

5. In the dialog box, specify Group Name, From Address (the email address used in FROM of your email messages) and From Name (the name that is used in FROM of your email messages).

6. Press OK and a new recipient group will be added. You will see the new group in the outline view under the Groups node.

7. Select the newly created group and press the Import button on the toolbar that is located on top of the main window. The new recipients will be added to this selected group.

8. In the Import Wizard, on the first page, select the second radio button that states "Import email addresses, names and other recipient data fields". Then press the Next button.

9. Select the Local File radio button and then specify location of the CSV file you want to import, or press the Browse button to browse your file system for the file. Then press the Next button.

10. Now you have arrived at the Data Preview step. Very often you will see some alien characters in the data structure preview. This is normal. It happens if an incorrect text encoding has been detected. We will correct it later by using the controls we have at hand on this page of Import Wizard.

11. Select the correct text encoding. We used the Unicode UTF-8 encoding. Now we can see some readable text in the preview:

12. Now, select the Comma checkbox in the Delimiter group to separate data fields into separate columns.

13. Note the column header names. Then correspond the database fields to import the data fields of your file into. They must match the information in the columns. In our example they do not match.

14. To match the column headers and the data columns, you must simply drag a non-matching column header and drop it onto the right one. Or click on the header of a non-matching column with the mouse, and the column will become selected. Then click on the "<- Move Left" or "Move Right ->" button once or more times until the column moves under the correct matching header.

15. Repeat these steps for the other non-matching fields until all the column headers match the information that is contained in the columns.

16. Now, all the headers match the information that is contained in the columns. We can press the Next button to proceed to the next step.

17. If you are just importing new recipients, you should click on the first radio button that states "Add new and update existing recipients without enabling/disabling them".

18. Press the Finish button and MacMassMailer will import your CSV file successfully. You will end up with a populated recipient group.

19. Note that the recipient list displays only two fields: "Email" and "Name". You cannot change this view. The other fields such as "Order", "Product", and "Website" are imported correctly but simply not shown in the table. You can check this by double-clicking any recipient in the list and checking the green fields in the recipient editor.

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