Like many other organizations, I suspect, I work with great, dedicated organizers and other staff who prefer the relative speed and simplicity of creating and updating contact lists in spreadsheets rather than in CiviCRM.

A constant challenge is 'selling' users on the many reasons to use CiviCRM rather than creating a contact list in a spreadsheet, which I then must import. Requiring the use of CiviCRM is easy to say but, depending on the culture of an organization, sometimes difficult to do.

So: what are ways CiviCRM admins and users have used to coach/encourage such spreadsheet-preferring users to use CiviCRM?

One way that I will be promoting is using a Search View (based on a Profile) in Advanced Search with a Group previously created - this gives a 'spreadsheet-like' interface.

Thoughts appreciated!


We end up building a lot of Views - and would love to be able to improve EditableViews so that it works more like a spreadsheet which will require ensuring that Labels rather than Values are displayed

  • thx Peter! Yeah will brush up on my Views as well. – Joe McLaughlin May 13 '16 at 22:27
  • that together with VBO so that many contacts can have data added in one submission – petednz - fuzion May 13 '16 at 22:33
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    Thanks Peter - by VBO you mean Views Bulk Operations - this right - drupal.org/project/views_bulk_operations - what are some advantages of VBO? – Joe McLaughlin May 13 '16 at 23:16
  • With VBO and CiviCRM Entity you can, for example, grab a whole bunch of Activities and assign/unassign, or Tag etc. – petednz - fuzion May 13 '16 at 23:48

With a lot of organizations I've worked with, the folks who want spreadsheets are often less comfortable with computers - but are often quite comfortable with a phone or even an iPad.

It feels counterintuitive to me to get "real" work done on a tablet - but for many folks, this is a killer feature. In many situations, CiviCRM can help make a lot of field workers' jobs more paperless - which means less time typing up attendance sheets into a spreadsheet.

  • Jon - I don't quite follow. What is the solution you are pointing to for them to use so that using civicrm on an ipad results in them 'feeling' like they are filling in a spreadsheet. sounds like something i have missed. – petednz - fuzion May 14 '16 at 23:08
  • Peter I think Jon's point is that whether it's on a laptop or desktop, or an app on a smartphone or an iPad/tablet, a simpler interface is desirable - the simplicity of a spreadsheet, or a well-designed app on a smartphone or an iPad/tablet. The portability and familiarity of a smartphone or iPad/tablet is a big plus as well. – Joe McLaughlin May 15 '16 at 0:47
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    @petednz-fuzion What Joe is saying is partially true - but I'm also giving an indirect answer as well. It's also about familiarity of interface. Many organizers prefer spreadsheets because of their workflow - spend all day doing "real" work, spend unwanted time at the end of the day "updating the computer". Being made to use an unfamiliar interface like a database causes resentment. Saying, "Hey, not only can you use a more comfortable interface, but you can "update the computer" while you work - that often wins folks over. I speak from experience as a former organizer here! :) – Jon G - Megaphone Tech May 15 '16 at 20:59

There is a "slickgrid" integration module developed by Eileen, which allows spreadsheet-like data entry for CiviCRM:


  • Dang that is right. We have it working on a Report using for weekly attendances (based on Activities) but i don't think i understood how widely applicable it was - have you applied it to anything and if so in what scenario. Maybe I should blog about it to give it more profile if i didn't at the time – petednz - fuzion May 16 '16 at 20:40

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