Manually import data

Upload images, audio, and videoImport structured spreadsheet data
Suitable note dataPreparing your CSV fileSupported fieldsChoose your fileMap columnsManaging duplicate peopleSentiment analysis on notesStart the importTroubleshooting steps
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Import structured spreadsheet data

You can create multiple notes, tags, or people from a CSV file. This is handy for importing data like NPS feedback, survey responses, and customer feedback to analyze in Dovetail, or if you have an existing set of tags or participants you’d like to import.

Suitable note data

CSV import is primarily designed for creating lots of small–to–medium notes, not importing large, formatted documents like interview transcripts. Your data should have at least one column for the title of each note or tag, and then as many columns as you like for the content of the note.

Preparing your CSV file

You’ll need a sheet from Microsoft ExcelGoogle Sheets, or Numbers saved as a UTF-8 encoded Comma Separated Value (CSV) file.

The first row needs to be the title of each column. For example, if you’re importing survey responses, the first row should contain values like Name and Email, along with your questions like “Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?” and so on. (The answer is “to get to the same side.”)

Supported fields

There are different requirements for importing notes, tags, and people from a CSV files.

Note fields

  • Content – required, text format (300,000 character limit). This becomes the body of the note, which you can later highlight and tag.

  • Created date – must be in ISO 8601 date format or YYYY/MM/DD HH:MM

  • Title – text format (200 character limit)

Any fields that have been added to notes will also be available as fields to import into.

Tag fields

  • Description – text format (300,000 character limit)

  • Created date – must be in ISO 8601 date format or YYYY/MM/DD HH:MM

  • Title – text format (200 character limit)

People fields

  • Title - text format. (e.g. a person's name or an alias)

Choose your file

Once you’ve got your CSV file in the correct format with the right columns, you're ready to import it!

Import notes or tags

To import notes or tags, begin by opening the project you'd like to import to, then:

  1. To import notes click Data, or to import tags click Tags

  2. Click Import.

  3. Click Create from a spreadsheet.

  4. Choose a .csv file.

Import people

To import people, click on People, then:

  1. Click more (•••) in the top right corner.

  2. Click Import.

  3. Click Create from a spreadsheet.

  4. Choose a .csv file.

Map columns

The next step is to select columns to import from your spreadsheet. If your spreadsheet contains a date column, Dovetail might have already detected it, and it’ll be green.

First, decide which column to set as the title:

  1. Open the select menu for a column.

  2. Choose Title from the menu.

Next, decide which columns to import as content (for notes), or description (for tags).

  1. Open the select menu for a column.

  2. Choose Content (for notes) or Description (for tags) from the menu.

  3. Repeat as many times as necessary.

Optionally, if you’re importing notes or people, you can map any columns as fields on a note:

  1. Open the select menu for a column.

  2. Choose the field you wish to map, or

  3. Create a new field to map the column to.

Managing duplicate people

If you're importing people, you can choose how you would like to deal with duplicate people if found. There are three options, for managing duplicate data:

  • Keep both - all imported spreadsheet rows will create new people.

  • Replace - spreadsheet rows with a duplicate in the people table will replace the duplicate.

  • Discard - spreadsheet rows with a duplicate in the people table will not be imported.

If you select replace or discard duplicates, you must choose which column to use as a unique identifer. A unique column is one in which no two entries are the same (e.g. an email column, or a unique id column). We use this column to search for matches between your CSV and your existing People table.

Sentiment analysis on notes

If you’d like to analyze the sentiment of your imported notes, keep the Analyze sentiment checkbox checked. Dovetail will add ‘Positive’ and ‘Negative’ tags to content that expresses a strong positive or negative sentiment. Sentiment analysis is not available when importing tags.

Learn more about automatic sentiment analysis

Start the import

Next to the button Import rows, open the select menu after ‘as’ and decide whether you’d like to import your data as notes or tags. Open the select menu after ‘into’ and choose what group to put the imported data in.

Lastly, click Import rows to start the import. Dovetail will import the data in the green columns for each row.

That’s it!

Troubleshooting steps

Here are a few things to note about CSV import:

  • Formatting like headings, bold, italics, lists, tables, and images are not supported when importing from a CSV. They may cause a failure.

  • The maximum length for notes is 300,000 characters. No single cell in your CSV file should exceed this limit. This will cause a failure.

  • Dovetail will interpret two newline characters as separate paragraphs.

  • Your file needs to be encoded as UTF-8 (this is usually the default).

  • Your CSV file should end in a .csv file extension.

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Article info

Last updated 25 August 2021
5 min read

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