Bulk importing users
Rather than add users manually one at a time, you can add many users in a bulk import. To do this, you create a CSV (comma separated values) file that contains the user's data. Aside from the essential user data, such as email address and phone number, you can set user roles, define an agent's privileges, and add users to an organization. You can use bulk import to either add new users or update existing ones.
You must be an administrator to bulk import users and organizations. If you are using a trial account, you cannot bulk import users.
Limitations of bulk importing users and organizations
You can import a core set of data about users and organizations. For example, using bulk import, you can import the data described in the table below; however, you cannot import timezones, photos, language preferences, etc. To import data not listed in the table below, you need to use the Zendesk REST API instead. See Importing users with the Zendesk API or Importing organizations with the Zendesk API.
- The import CSV data file must contain no more than 2000 rows of data (one row for the header and the rest for the user or organization data).
- You can only import one CSV file of 2000 or less rows of data at a time. Therefore, if you've got more than 1999 users or organizations to import, you need to create separate files for each batch and import them one after another. Up to two batches are queued and run in the background. If you want import more than two batches, you need to wait until the first batches are finished importing to add more.
- You cannot use bulk importing to import contact information from end-user Facebook or Twitter accounts. Instead, use the Zendesk REST API. See Importing users with the Zendesk API.
Creating the CSV user data file
When you create a list of users to import, you'll probably generate this list from some other user management system such as an employee database. Most of these systems have some facility for creating a CSV export file. If you need to create the list from scratch you can use a program like Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice.org Calc.
- The file must be properly formatted CSV and saved using UTF-8 character encoding.
- The first row of the CSV file is the header row, and you must include it in the file.
- The header row must contain any required fields in the table below, plus any other fields listed in the table below that you want to include.
- Included fields must appear in the header row in the order they are listed below.
- If you are not importing data for a field, do not list it in the header row.
- Empty columns of data in the file will overwrite any existing data for that user.
- Add line breaks to notes or multiline custom fields by pressing ALT+ENTER on Windows or CTRL+OPTION+RETURN on a Mac.
The following table lists the fields that you can include in the file.
|name||Required for importing new users. User's full name.|
|Required for importing new users. User's full email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can give users more than one email address. See Assigning multiple email addresses to a user.|
|external_id||If you have an ID other than the user's email address (such as an employee ID or customer reference number), you can include it here. External IDs must be unique for each user, or data will be overwritten.|
|details||Detailed information concerning this user, e.g. an address. This information is visible to agents only, not to end-users.|
|notes||Notes concerning this user. Notes are visible to agents only, not to end-users.|
|phone||The user's telephone numbers. Unique phone numbers are added as direct lines. Phone numbers that already exist are added as secondary lines.|
|shared_phone_number||If this is a shared phone number, set to "true". A shared phone number cannot be used as a user identity.|
|role||Case sensitive: "End-user", "Agent", or "Admin". If you don't set a role, the user is set to end-user.|
|restriction||Required for importing new users when the user's role is set to agent. Restriction sets the agent's privileges, the tickets they have access to, etc.
You can enter one of the following values:
In the Enterprise version of Zendesk Support, you use the restriction field to assign your agent users predefined or custom roles. See Assigning an agent to an Enterprise agent role below.
|organization||The name of the organization that the user will be added to. The organization must already exist or the import will fail.
On Professional and Enterprise, you can add a user to multiple organizations by separating the organization names with a pipe character (see Importing users into multiple organizations).
|tags||When user and organization tagging has been enabled for Zendesk Support (see see Adding tags and users to organizations), you can add user tags. Separate each tag with the comma.|
|brand||If the account has multiple brands, you can specify a brand subdomain. The brand subdomain you specify determines the brand of the welcome email sent to the user, as long as that brand is active and has an enabled help center. If the brand subdomain you specify is not active, doesn't have an enabled help center, or doesn't exist, the column is ignored and the welcome email is sent using default brand.|
|custom_fields.<field key>||When you perform a bulk user import, you can import a custom user field by specifying the custom_fields. prefix and the field key.
For example, for the field key subscription_date, use the following to set the imported values for this field.
If you are importing information into a checkbox, enter 'true' to have it checked or 'false' to leave it unchecked.
Note: To locate the key for a custom user field, click the Admin icon () and select User Fields, then click the name of a custom field. The field key appears in the properties panel on the right.
If a field value is not formatted correctly, the import will fail and you will receive an error report specifying which records failed to save. For custom date fields, use either the YY/MM/DD or YYYY-MM-DD format.
Important: To set the value of drop-down list options, use the tag you added when you created the drop-down list.
A note about welcome email sent to users in a bulk import
When you add new users via a bulk import, each user receives the welcome email message. The welcome email contains a link to verify their email address, which prompts them to select a password and then sign in. You can prevent the welcome email from being sent to all these users by updating the welcome email setting.
To prevent the welcome email message being sent to users
- Click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select Settings > Customers.
- In the User welcome email section, uncheck Also send a verification email when a new user is created by an agent or administrator.
Note: This option is not available until you enable Guide.
- Click Save tab.
Importing users into multiple organizations (Professional and Enterprise)
If you're on Professional or Enterprise, you can add users to multiple organizations during your bulk import.
To do so, in the organization cell in your CSV user data file, enter multiple organizations separated by a pipe character. For example: Organization1|Organization2|Organization3
Here's a CSV example for adding a user to three different organizations.
"name","email","external_id","details","notes","phone","role","restriction","organization","tags" Enrico Venticello,"email@example.com",,,,,,,Organization1|Organization2|Organization3,,
If you list an organization that does not exist, the import will fail.
A user's default organization will be set to the first organization alphabetically. It is not possible to set a different default org using the .csv import. The default organization for a user can be adjusted manually or by using theCore API - Set Membership as Default endpoint.
Assigning an agent to an Enterprise custom role (Enterprise only)
On Enterprise, you can assign agents predefined or custom roles (see Custom agent roles). These roles are sets of permissions, not just single permissions as are the standard restrictions listed in the table above.
If you've created your own custom agent roles, you just use the name of your custom role. As an example, here's a CSV example for setting an agent to a role called Help Desk Mastermind.
"name","email","external_id","details","notes","phone","role", "restriction","organization","tags" Enrico Venticello,"firstname.lastname@example.org",,,,,"agent","Help Desk Mastermind",,
If you accidentally use a role that doesn't exist in Zendesk Support, the agent is set to Light Agent. You can then manually change the agent's role to another role by editing their user profile.
Also, the import is case insensitive, which means that both of following custom role names set the agent to the same role: "Help Desk Mastermind" and "help Desk mastermind".
Assigning multiple email addresses and phone numbers to a user
You can assign primary and secondary email addresses and phone numbers to a single user during a bulk import, using the external_id column.
To to this, give the same external ID to more than one email address or phone number, as shown in the image above. All emails or calls associated with the same external ID will be routed to the user associated with that ID.
Note that when the first of the two email addresses matches an existing user, that user is updated. However, if the second email address matches an existing user as well (the same user associated with the first email address, or a different user), the user associated with the first email address is updated with both email addresses, and the second user errors out, saying that email address already exists.
Importing the CSV user data file
You can import new users or update information for existing users.
- Click the Admin icon () in the sidebar, then select People.
- Select Bulk User Import (located in the right column).
- Choose the type of import you want:
- Create new users
- Update existing users
Important: Update actually means replace. In other words, if you select Update existing organizations, it replaces the existing data for the listed users in your CSV file. You only need to include the fields that you want to update in the file. If you have empty columns of data it will overwrite the existing data for that user. Also, see Updating existing user profile data to understand which data is replace and which data is appended when you updated existing users.
- Either click Choose File or the Let me paste in data instead link.
- Click Import.
Your import is added to the queue and the users are added to Zendesk Support when the import process is complete. See Limitations of bulk importing users and organizations. You'll receive an email when the import is complete.
Updating existing user profile data
As noted above, when doing a bulk import, you can select the Update existing users option, which allows you to update the user profile data of users that you've already added to Support. Be aware, however, that some of the data is replaced and some of the data is just appended to the existing data.
The following user data is replaced:
- Custom fields
The following user data is appended (added to the existing data):
- phone (added as a secondary phone number)
- email (added as a secondary email address)