I have a list of contacts (names and email addresses). I know that all of these contacts are in the Civi database, but I want to add a tag or a group to all of them, and i have the list in a CSV file. What I should be able to do is simply import the contacts, setting 'Update' or perhaps 'Fill' as my duplicate matching option, and set the tag and/or group to be set in the import settings. Just tried it - several times, using various different options, and it failed every time, reporting that 0 records had been tagged (or added to the group). This is with Civi 4.7.19.

Is there a specific set of options that I need to know about to get this to work? This post (How to tag a contact when importing possible duplicates) suggests that this should just work. I followed that example and it failed.

  • Hi Graham. Sounds odd. The only situation I know of where Tagging as the last step of an import is when a timeout issue happens (which is why i strongly advocate adding a custom field purely for the purposes of tracking the import process - and if you do that then you could do a search and Tag if the import tagging fails. But that is an extra step and should not be required. Did you confirm on Demo?
    – petednz - fuzion
    Jun 19, 2017 at 20:36
  • With the demo site I was successfully able to import a set of new contacts and add a new tag on import. If I then removed the tag from those contacts and ran a second import form the same file, using the 'update' option, and requesting that the tag be added on import, no tag was added.
    – Graham
    Jun 20, 2017 at 7:52
  • Looks like this is linked to issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-20742
    – Graham
    Jun 20, 2017 at 8:11
  • And issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-20739
    – Graham
    Jun 20, 2017 at 8:12
  • Couldn't you just use the api explorer?
    – nielo
    Jun 20, 2017 at 20:54

3 Answers 3


To bypass this problem, I use Yes/No custom field to import the data "Belonging to A group". Then I use an advanced search to select those contacts and add them to the A group.


I also stumbled across this bug - when a user already exists, trying to import and assign tags using the email/dedupe failed.

Mentioned in one of the jira issues https://issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-20739 is "When performing a contact import using the "fill" option and using a dedupe rule to match (i.e. not including the contact ID in the import structure), the contacts will not be added to a group."

I found that if I import based on the contact ID, the additional tag was added - may not be a great solution for everyone but it's a workaround I can live with for now.


I think I face the same issue.

I tried many thing (import more than email for this 2nd import, change group visibility, use a new group, etc.) but it is still the same.

The import report always mentions "One contact added to this existing group." But when I go to group panel, the group has no new contact.

  • 1
    Which version of CiviCRM are you working with Charles? issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-20739 was fixed in version 4.7.23 so if you are on an earlier version it might be worth updating and see if it resolves your problem.
    – Graham
    Oct 3, 2017 at 10:34
  • I confirm ! Problem solved by updating to CiviCRM 4.7.29 Mar 28, 2018 at 12:49

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