I'm trying to import notes into CiviCRM with only an external identifier. Inside the current database, the contacts are already assigned these external identifiers correctly within CiviCRM.

I was recently given a .csv file with three columns: Name, External Id and Note. I need to ignore the name completely because the name in this .csv file is a combination of Prefix, First ,Last and Suffix as one field. The names don't match up with my current records, because each part of a contacts name within CiviCRM is its own field. Also, I believe there are too many string variances in the combined name structures to effectively parse them out into 4 fields with code.

So with that information, I am trying to ignore the name completely and using the External ID and Note only in the import.

The setting I am using are:
Contact Type: Individual
For Duplicate Contacts: No Duplicate Checking
Dedupe Rule: Left blank

Field Mapping:
Name: do not import
Id : External Identifier*
Note: Note

9668 errors / 9668 rows
"Missing required fields: First Name and Last Name OR Email Address"

What is the point of an external identifier if CiviCRM still requires another identifier?

My real question is; How do I do an import with External ID only in the UI for individual notes? I am thinking about writing a PHP script to try and force the notes into the MySQL database, but setting up a custom script seems like overkill for something I thought would be trivial.

Note: I can't use email because many of the contacts don't have one

1 Answer 1


You need to choose 'Update' for 'For Duplicate Contacts' option on the import screen if you want to update the contact using import.

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  • This removed the name / email requirement (worked). Thank you Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 16:02
  • Happy to help...cheers (y) Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 16:03

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