Contact Upload User Guide

This document is a guide to uploading contacts using the CSV template. Included is an overview, design considerations, troubleshooting information, and a copy of the Contact Upload Data Table that contains detailed definitions of the column headers and data fields. 

Contact Upload Overview

The CSV Template used for uploading contacts must not have its column headings changed. If you use your own spreadsheet, make sure your column headings use the exact case‐sensitive spelling and spaces.

For some of the sections of the file, the template provides multiple copies of the data columns. For example, the template provides for multiple locations. If your organization only needs two locations, you can delete the extra location columns to simplify your data file. You can also remove columns from other areas such as delivery methods and custom fields.

Update: An "Update" adds new contacts if the External ID or Record Type does not already exist. If the External ID already exists, the contact is updated with the new contact attributes; in addition to the new Record Type if changed.

Replace: "Replace" overwrites the existing contact list with only those contacts that match the Record Type and External ID in the CSV data file. It adds new contact records if the External ID is in the CSV file but not in the database.

CAUTION: Using the "Replace" option deletes contact records if the External ID exists in the database, but not in the CSV file.

If you are updating data for a contact, it is not necessary to use all of the columns. If a column is not in the file, the values for those fields are not updated and remain unchanged.

To remove a value from a contact during an “update”, include the column in the upload file, but leave the cell empty. For example, to remove a delivery method for a contact, leave the column headers in the CSV file, but delete the device information from the cells.

The last two columns in the following table explain what happens when you make changes to the CSV file. There are four scenarios:

  1. UPDATE results when changing an existing value to a new value.

  2. UPDATE results when leaving cells empty that were previously filled in.

  3. REPLACE results when changing an existing value to a new value.

  4. REPLACE results when leaving cells empty that were previously filled in.

Date Format Cells

In Settings > Organization > Contacts/Assets > Additional Information, if you use the "Date" data type, its format is: YYYY-MM-DD. In the respective Custom Value field, in the Format Cells dialog of Excel, you must modify the Date format. Select the values in the cells, then select the Date drop-down list to choose More Number Formats. Select Locale (Location); "English (U.K.) and Type: "2001-03-14" each time you use the data file, as the CSV file does not save format changes. Otherwise, you will always get the following error:

Additional information/attribute value is invalid


Contact Upload Considerations

  1. Everbridge strongly encourages downloading a backup of contacts before uploading.

  2. CSV-formatted files containing contact information can be uploaded from the Account or the Organization.

  3. Always include the "Organization Name" column when loading a CSV file from the Account level.

  4. The following columns cannot be empty for any contact record:

    1. First Name

    2. Last Name

    3. Record Type (ensure that Record Types are defined in the Organization Settings before attempting to upload the first file: Settings > Organization > Contacts/Assets > Contact Record Types. )

    4. External ID

  5. If you use a tool to edit the CSV file, then that tool might have its own limitations for the number of characters you can enter in one cell (for example, the maximum characters per cell when using Microsoft Excel is 32,767 characters); however, if you use a text editor to edit the CSV file, then there are no limitations. Also, regardless of the number of digits displayed, Microsoft Excel stores numbers with up to 15 digits of precision. If a number contains more than 15 significant digits, Microsoft Excel converts the extra digits to zeros (0).

  6. Leaving a column empty for a contact record will produce different results than when you omit the column from the CSV file. See the detail for the desired column in the Contact Upload Data Table in the attached file.

  7. Some information for a contact record require a value in more than one column:

    1. Contact Location: Each location consists of a location name, street address, and optionally, a Latitude/Longitude pair.

    2. Custom Fields: Custom information you add or update for a contact will require the custom field name and the custom value pair. (Ensure you define the Additional Information fields in the Organization Settings before you upload the first file: Settings > Organization > Contacts/Assets > Additional Information.)

  8. Phone Numbers (Extension Phone, Phone, FAX, SMS, TTY):

    1. If the country for the delivery method is in the list of NANP (North American Numbering Plan) countries, then the phone number:

      • Must be 10 digits

      • Cannot start with 911, 976, 411, 011, 900, 611, 000

    2. Everbridge runs a validation on all phone numbers, NANP and non-NANP.

    3. The Everbridge application stores phone numbers without a mask or delimiters. If a phone number in the CSV file contains delimiters, for example, nnn-nnn-nnnn or (nnn) nnn-nnnn, then:

      • The Everbridge application will remove the delimiters and store the digits.

      • The phone number will be returned without delimiters when you download the contact record or retrieve the contact record using the API.

      • The Everbridge application will display NANP phone numbers in the user interface using the format xxx-xxx-xxxx; phone numbers for non-NANP countries will be displayed without a format.

      • International phone numbers must be entered as though they will be dialed from the outside of the Organization's or Contact's designated country. Any special handling will be included by Everbridge, depending on the call origination site. NOTE: This applies only to the phone number itself; not to the country code. For example, when dialing a mobile phone in Mexico, a "1" needs to be entered before the phone number. That 1 must be included for mobile numbers for the system to reach them. Landlines do not need the 1.

      • For information on the format for international phone communications, see knowledge article EBS: What are Globally Local Notifications in Everbridge Suite?  

  9. For data examples, see knowledge article EBS: How to Create and Upload a CSV File for Loading Contacts Into Everbridge Suite Including Contact Sample Records.


For troubleshooting contact uploads please see the following Support Center section: Everbridge Knowledge Everbridge 360™ (Everbridge Suite) - Organization Contacts & Assets Uploads Troubleshooting.

Contact Upload Data Table

The Contact Upload Data Table in the attached file, provides details about the column headings, from left to right, in the CSV Template file.

For more information on contact uploads, see the EBS: Account Administrator Guide and the EBS: Organization Administrator Guide.


Additional Information

EBS: Troubleshooting & Configuration Guide for Contact Uploads - Main Page



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