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Importing Multiple Files using ZIP Import

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online has released November 2009 Service update. One of the key delivered features was the enhanced Import Data Wizard. You are probably already familiar with importing data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM using various file types and the power of customization during import. In this blog I will dive deep into import ZIP functionality of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online November 2009 release.

ZIP folder is a perfect option to use when you want to import more than 1 file in single attempt in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. All latest Windows operating systems provide option of compressing multiple files in one ZIP folder. Alternatively any ZIP software can also be used to compress the data files in ZIP format.

Using a ZIP folder to import data has lots of merits over importing those data files individually. Apart from importing multiple files in parallel, it also gives power to import cross-referenced files and attachments. Here are the merits and structural requirements of ZIP file for import in MSCRM.

    • Importing cross-referenced data files: All files that are referencing each other and need to be imported in one attempt to resolve look-up, can be zipped in a folder and this ZIP file can be imported into MSCRM. User has to provide Data Map defining all field and lookup mappings and this map can be used to import all data into the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system.
    • Import attachments along with data files: If a ZIP folder contains a folder named Attachments and corresponding “attachment ID to record ID” mapping in a file, then import wizard will import attachments also along with data. See this blog for the recommended ZIP structure to import attachments. Specific details for importing attachments via Import wizard will come soon.
    • Supported ZIP folder structures: The file structure of importable ZIP folder is defined to provide high performance and avoid ambiguity. It is very flexible but has some rules.
      • a ZIP folder can contain data files and one Attachment folder directly under root or a ZIP folder can have one folder which in turn contains data files and one Attachment folder
      • a ZIP folder should have all data files of only one type (CSV, XMLSS or TXT) to qualify for import. Though it supports empty files and don’t block import if any of your files in the ZIP folder is blank.
      • ZIP folders should not be password protected and total zipped size should be less than 32 MB in size.
      • Any individual data or attachment file in the ZIP folder should be less than 8 MB in size.
    • Any other or ambiguous ZIP folder structure will be discarded during the import.