I'm looking for a way to add contacts to a group from a CSV file including e-mails of contacts already existing in Civi.

When I import into Civi, I use the update option and select primary e-mail, and even when the e-mail is the same, it ads a second e-mail entry with the same e-mail that already exists.

Is there a way around this? It doesn't seem like it's the correct action as it pollutes the contact card with repeated e-mail entries.

  • It may be worth you confirming this problem replicates on Demo
    – petednz - fuzion
    Mar 26, 2018 at 22:50

1 Answer 1


You have to select an appropiate Dedupe Rule so that the importer can detect by which criteria you want to treat an existing contact and a imported contact as the same.

Using the predefined Email - Unsupervised Rule should work for this purpose.

enter image description here

If you chose the same location as is defined for the contact email it will just update the existing contact.

However, the option to select the primary e-mail does not seem to be working as expected. It will create a new adress without setting a proper location.

enter image description here

You may want to report this as a bug.

  • This is the exact setup I did for the dedupe rule. The issue that I'm having is like the screenshot you added, where if the contact's e-mail is "work" and for whatever reason I'm importing all as "main" and set as primary, I then get a duplicate e-mail in the record for which the primary e-mail isn't set to "main".
    – Gilberto
    Apr 11, 2018 at 8:10

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