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How to Import Contacts from CSV Files in to Reply
How to Import Contacts from CSV Files in to Reply

Learn how to add multiple contacts at once or update contact data using bulk upload with a CSV file

Reply Team avatar
Written by Reply Team
Updated over a week ago

Importing contacts from a CSV file into Reply allows you to efficiently add multiple contacts at once or update the information of existing ones. This approach not only saves time but also enhances your database management by eliminating the manual entry of contact details.

Moreover, the import process offers flexibility through various configurations. You can map CSV fields to Reply's custom fields, select unique identifiers for contacts, manage contacts without email addresses, and adjust other settings to suit your needs. This method ensures a tailored and efficient management of your contact list, optimizing your communication strategies.


How to Import Contacts with CSV

To add new contacts or update the existing records using import from a CSV file, follow these steps:

  1. Open the People Contacts tab.

  2. Click New contact in the upper right corner and select Import from CSV from a drop-down.

Quick Note: You can also import contacts to a new or existing sequence in the Add people step. The records of contacts will be added to the sequence and your Reply account as well.

  • If a sequence is new, select Import from CSV option.

  • If the sequence already contains the contacts, navigate to the Contacts list tab, click Add contacts, and select Import from CSV from a drop-down.

3. Complete all the steps for import in the Import contacts wizard.

Step 1. Choose file

Click on the Choose file button to upload the prepared CSV file, or use the drag and drop option. To create a valid CSV file, click on the CSV example link in the lower-left corner. You can use it as a template and fill it out with your contact information.

Ensure your CSV file is correctly formatted with the following fields for a successful import:



First name

The contact's first name. This field is crucial for personalizing your communications.

Last name

The surname or family name of the contact. Along with the first name, it helps to accurately identify and address your contacts.


The contact's email address. Providing this field can be crucial for email outreach campaigns.

Important: The email field can be left empty for the contacts, but it is essential to include the email column in your CSV file. This ensures compatibility and smooth handling of your data.


The professional title or job position of the contact, such as 'Marketing Manager' or 'Software Engineer'. This information is valuable for tailoring your messages to the recipient's role and responsibilities.


The name of the company or organization where the contact is currently employed. This field is useful for segmenting your contacts by their employer for targeted outreach campaigns.


The city where the contact is located. This geographic information can be used for regional targeting and personalizing communication based on location.


The state or province where the contact resides. Along with the city and country, it helps refine your targeting strategies to specific geographical areas.


The country of the contact's location. Knowing the country is essential for global outreach campaigns and for compliance with regional marketing regulations.

LinkedIn profile

The URL of the contact's LinkedIn profile. This is particularly useful for networking and outreach efforts on LinkedIn, providing a direct link to their professional profile.

LinkedIn recruiter

Indicates whether the contact is accessible via LinkedIn Recruiter. This field can help identify the best approach for connecting with the contact on LinkedIn, especially for recruitment purposes.


The contact's phone number. This field is critical for outreach campaigns that include phone calls or SMS messaging as part of the communication strategy.

Requirements in CSV File

To ensure a smooth and efficient import process for adding contacts to the Reply platform, please take into account these instructions:

  • File Format and Size Limitations: Your contact list must be in CSV (Comma-Separated Values) format. Each CSV file can contain up to 100,000 rows. This limit allows you to add up to 100,000 contacts in a single import action.

  • Presence of Fields: All fields outlined in our example CSV must be included in your CSV file. These fields may be left empty for specific contacts where information is missed, but the columns themselves must exist in the file.

  • Mandatory "First Name" Field: The "First Name" field is the only exception to the above rule and cannot be left blank for any contact.

  • Error Handling: If any of the required columns are missing from your CSV file, the import process will not proceed, and an error message will be displayed. Ensure all necessary columns are present to avoid import issues.

Step 2. Map attributes

Mapping attributes correctly is a crucial step in customizing how contact information is integrated into your database. This process ensures that each piece of data from your CSV file is accurately aligned with the corresponding fields in the Reply system, thereby enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of your outreach and management activities.

1. Align CSV and Reply Fields:

Start by ensuring that each field in your CSV file matches the appropriate Reply field. For instance, to correctly map the contact name, click on the corresponding Reply field and select the matching field from your CSV via the drop-down list.

Custom Fields: Beyond the standard fields, you have the flexibility to add and map additional fields that are specific to your needs. This includes the creation of custom fields that can be mapped directly to corresponding fields in your CSV file. Follow these instructions to use custom fields.

2. Choose the Main Identifier:

Use the Contact identifier drop-down on top to select the main field that will identify a contact in the Reply system. This allows you to select the primary field for identifying contacts within the Reply system. When you select an identifier (such as Email, Last Name, or Phone), it becomes the key to distinguishing each contact, making it mandatory for every entry to prevent duplicates.

Once an identifier is chosen, other fields become optional, offering flexibility in data import. Ensure the identifier is unique and accurate for each contact to maintain a clean and organized database.

3. Complete the Mapping: After aligning all fields between your CSV file and the Reply system, click "Continue" to proceed with the import process.

Step 3. Options

This step in the import process offers you the ability to review and adjust additional settings for your contact import, ensuring that your contacts are managed and organized effectively within your system.

Viewing Import Details

  • Overview: Initially, you'll see the name of the CSV file you're importing and the total number of contacts intended for import.

  • Contact List Selection: Use the down arrow button to assign contacts to an existing list, distribute them among multiple lists (learn more about lists for segmenting your contacts here), or even create and select a new list directly within this step. This flexibility allows for efficient contact segmentation and management.

Setting Import Preferences

You can also use enhanced CSV import options for better contact management.

Matched Records:

  • Update Existing Fields: Choose this option to overwrite existing contact fields with new data from your CSV file.

  • Skip: Select this to avoid updating contacts with new data, preventing accidental overwrites of existing information.

Records Without Emails:

  • Add Generated Emails: For contacts missing email addresses, you can opt to assign autogenerated emails. Contacts without emails will be automatically created in Reply, with emails being autogenerated, and marked as invalid as shown below:

    These contacts will be skipped for email steps in sequences. This ensures all contacts are saved in your system, although with invalid email addresses, allowing for outreach through other channels like SMS, WhatsApp, calls, or LinkedIn.

  • Skip: Alternatively, you can choose not to import contacts without email addresses, ensuring only contacts with valid emails are added to your database.

Time Zone:

  • Tick Detect contact time zone automatically to assign time zones to your contacts based on their city/state and country data (learn more about this option here). This can enhance the timing of your email campaigns but may extend the import time by up to 30 minutes.

Once the step is done, click Import.

Step 4. Review & Import

Here's what happens after you initiate the import process and how to navigate the results for optimal contact management.

Once you click "Import," the system starts processing your CSV file. Feel free to close the dialog window and continue your work in Reply; the import will proceed in the background. After the import concludes, you'll receive a notification.

Click on "View import results" in the Notification Center located in the top right corner to open the results dialog window.

The Import Results dialog provides a comprehensive breakdown of the import process, detailing the number of contacts imported, updated, skipped, and any errors encountered.

Key Metrics Explained:

  • Imported Contacts: Reflects the number of new contacts successfully added to your account.

  • Updated Contacts: Indicates the number of existing contacts in your Reply account whose information was refreshed or modified during this import.

  • Skipped Contacts: Represents duplicates that the system identified and removed during the import to maintain data integrity.

  • Import Errors: Highlights records that failed to import, often due to missing mandatory fields like "First Name" or incorrect field formats (for example, when importing a text to a custom field with the number type). A downloadable CSV is available to review these specific issues.

For each category (imported, updated, skipped, and errors), separate downloadable files are available. These allow you to identify and address any issues or to better understand the outcome of your import.

Click on the "Done" button once you've reviewed the import results. This action completes the import process, and the new data will be available on the Contacts page.

Quick Note: If you need to add imported contacts to a sequence, use the Move to sequence button on top. For more information on how to move contacts from a CSV file into a sequence, see the following article. But also note that one contact can be a part of only one sequence at a time.

Mapping CSV File Fields to Custom Fields in Reply

Efficiently integrating your contacts into Reply starts with properly mapping your CSV file fields to the platform's custom fields. This instruction walks you through the process, from modifying existing mappings to creating new custom fields. For detailed instructions on creating custom contact fields in Reply, refer to our help article.

To do this:

  1. Open the Import from file dialog window. 

  2. Select Fields to Map: Look for the "REPLY FIELDS" column. Here, you can adjust the mapping for each field. If you've previously set up custom fields, simply select the appropriate field from the drop-down list.

  3. Adding New Custom Fields:

    • To create a new custom field, click on the "Add custom field" button.

    • Enter the desired name for your custom field in the "Field label" input area.

    • Choose the type of field - either text or number - from the "Field type" drop-down list.

    • Save your settings by clicking "Save."

  4. Complete the Import: Once all fields are correctly mapped, proceed to finalize the import process.

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