I have a custom field for Individual contacts which can carry multiple values, i.e. 'Languages' can be 'English, German, Spanish, Greek'.

An individual may speak 'English, German', another 'Spanish, Greek, English' and so on.

How can I populate this field with multiple values when importing contacts?

2 Answers 2


If you are using Multi-value Custom Data, see How to import to multi-record set custom fields and the answer.

But it sounds like you are importing multiple options in a field, in which case you can use comma separated values in a single cell. The import file will look something like this:

First Name,Last Name,Language
Joe,Smith,"English, Spanish"
Frank,Jones,"Dutch, English"

Tip: Try exporting a couple of existing records (with similar data) to see what CiviCRM expects in the import.

  • Worked fine! Thank you for your idea to export existing records. Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 15:19
  • There is a difference between a field with multiple options, and a field that can have multiple records. Sanjay I think you might be confusing the two as the link is for the latter, while it sounds like the question is about the former - which i interpreted as requiring an answer like "ensure your languages are comma separated in a single cell" - maybe you can tweak your answer to match?
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 0:03
  • Petednz, I was not confused between the two types, but your language change suggestion is helpful. Thanks - I edited my answer. Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 1:51

You can import the multi value data. Format should like this below.
ContactID Language
101 English
101 German
102 Spanish
102 Greek
102 English

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