How did your government collect and track the information you now have on ClearForms before you started using the software? If you are using ClearForms for dog licensing, your government had some way to track dog licenses before you switched.

The most common ways governments managed their data prior to modern systems like ClearForms involved spreadsheets, Access databases, or older types of software systems. If you're able to get data out of your old system and into a consolidated .csv file format it can be uploaded into ClearForms.

Importing historical data into the ClearForms system allows your staff and the public to search for and find the information they need, all in one place, even if that data wasn't collected on ClearForms.

Here are some general principles to keep in mind when importing data:

  • Data should be formatted in a .csv (comma-separated values) file. You may select the .csv format as an export option from MS Excel or Google sheets.

  • Label the first row of the .csv file with field names that will allow you to easily match the data in your imported filed to field names in ClearForms.

  • Data should be formatted so there's one row in the .csv file per record to be imported. Some older data systems may have stored data in different tables (for example one table for dog information and one table for dog owner information). In order to import into ClearForms you'll need to manipulate that data so there is one row with all the data related to each record.

  • Your imported data MUST include a "started date" and a "completion date" for each imported record. If your source data is missing one or both of these fields you can add a placeholder date but you must have some information in a date format to put in those fields in the ClearForms system or your import will fail.

  • There will probably be much less data in the older system than is captured in ClearForms. That's perfectly fine - you don't have to have a .csv file with information for each field in ClearForms to do an upload.

  • However you will want to ensure that there is a field for each piece of data you'd like to upload into ClearForms. For example if you'd like to upload "Name / Address / Permit Type / Issue Date" you'll need to make sure there is a field in the current ClearForms workflow for each of those pieces of information.

  • Please note that the standard ClearForms address field is a combined string of data that includes Street Numbe- Street - City - State - Zip all combined into one field. If your historical data has distinct fields for Address Line1 / Address Line2 / City/ State / Zip and you'd like to preserve this information as distinct fields we recommend you create separate fields for each piece of data in the ClearForms system. Please note that splitting this data across multiple fields will mean it's not automatically mapped by our system.

When you've got your historical data in shape and in a .csv format here's how to bring it into the system.

Select the Actions tab on the Workflow you'd like to add your historical data to.

CityGrows Import CSV file

Choose the .csv file you'd like to import and click the Upload CSV button. Once you do you'll see the data appear and you'll be able to match the import data to your ClearForms fields.

CityGrows Import Edit page

ClearForms field names appear in bold. Select from the dropdown list below each ClearForms field to select a column/ data type from your .csv file to import to that field.

You do NOT have to have imported data for each field inside of ClearForms. You can test your import for data quality and then Run the import.

Imported data will look different than records of applications submitted through the ClearForms system. You can find all imported records by selecting Imported from the dashboard search options on the left side of your dashboard. Imported records don't have process ID numbers and appear with all data in one section (without the Step structure standard on ClearForms).

Dashboard view of imported records

CityGrows dashboard of imports

How an imported record looks in the ClearForms system.

CityGrows import record

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