I am trying to work out how to import contacts into multiple groups. The list of contacts to import has some contacts listed in multiple groups. I've been unable to work out how.

EG Fred Smith is in Group 1, 2 and 3. Joe Smith is in Group 1 and 2 Mary Smith is only in Group 1.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks Scott

  • I have each group in a difference cell. I just expected to be able to select the header title and match to the group. I'll give the custom field option a try and report back.
    – funkyblue
    May 28, 2018 at 10:50

3 Answers 3


An alternative approach, esp if you have comma separated options for the Groups (ie all groups are in a single cell) would be to make a Custom Field with options that match your Group Names, import like that, then search for each option and via Actions 'add to group'.

Or (as Pradeep suggests in comment below) Custom field of type text and then using Search builder perform Like %Group Name% for each option and via Actions 'add to group'

  • 2
    Or Custom field of type text and then using Search builder perform Like %Group Name% for each option and via Actions 'add to group'. May 28, 2018 at 7:58
  • Good point. thx
    – petednz - fuzion
    May 28, 2018 at 10:52
  • That’s what we do - importing custom fields then reconstructing the groups in CiviCRM post import May 28, 2018 at 11:53

The way I have done this is a variation on above and is quick, particularly if you have a separate column for each group. I also created a separate temporary custom field to ensure it didn't say there was nothing to import.

For each group select the records in that group and save as a new CSV. Do an import, using fill and putting anything in the temporary field. Add these contacts to the group. Repeat for all groups.


Did you had a look at the manual on importing data into CiviCRM? https://docs.civicrm.org/user/en/latest/common-workflows/importing-data-into-civicrm/

I am not sure whether importing of contacts in multiple groups works in CiviCRM.

If it doesn't you could try to create different import files, one for each group because at the end of each import you could add the contacts to a specific group. During the import CiviCRM tries minimize the creation of duplicate contacts.

So you get a file group1 with Fred and Joe. a file group2 with only Fred, and a file group3 with Joe.

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