Is it possible to use the import function for contacts and match by email, without creating duplicate email addresses for existing contacts?

Example: We organize frequent webinars with participation in the hundreds per event. After the webinar is over, we import the email addresses of those who participated back from the webinar platform into CiviCRM, so that we can set their event status accordingly in CiviCRM. We don't have the CiviCRM IDs to import, so we need to do the matching by email. However, this seems to create a duplicate email record in matched contacts. This would not be much of an issue for the occasional import, but as many contacts have participated in dozens of webinars, they consequently also have dozens of email addresses in their CiviCRM record.

Do you know if there is a way around this when importing? Both "Update" and "Fill" has the same problem. With "Skip", it says it has added the imported contacts to a group, but in fact it hasn't...

Note: As our contacts will have different location types set for their primary email address, I am matching by primary address rather than a specific location type.

1 Answer 1


As far as I understand, provided you are importing to the same Location Type then the match should occur without adding a new email address.

  • Exactly - check if your location type matches Sep 10, 2017 at 21:15
  • Thanks – I had not tested out if that was the case. I should have clarified in my question that I am matching by primary email address, as the location type of the primary address will be different from contact to contact... Sep 12, 2017 at 6:15
  • I suspect importing to Primary is the issue. Since at that point it doesn't know which Location Type and hence doesn't match
    – petednz - fuzion
    Sep 12, 2017 at 23:10

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