Rather than add users manually one at a time, admins 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. Bulk import via a CSV file only works for Support users and roles.
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 most existing data for that user. For exceptions, see Updating existing user profile data.
- 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. The name, email, and restriction fields are all required when importing new users. When existing users are updated via bulk import, only one unique identifier is required (such as an email or external ID).
|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.
IDs must be unique for each user, or data will be
If you don’t enable Include external ID in CSV output file, external IDs are excluded from the CSV import results file (see Importing the CSV user data file).
Note: If you import users with the external_id field as their only identifier (meaning you're not also including email address), you still need to include the email field in the CSV file, with no data. For example:
|details||Detailed information concerning this user, e.g. an address. This information is visible to team members only, not to end-users.|
|notes||Notes concerning this user. Notes are visible to team members 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.|
for importing new
when the user's role is set to
values of "organization" and "requested" can be assigned when the user's role is
set to "End-user". Restriction sets the
or end user'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 can also 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
Specify only the name of the brand subdomain. For example, use mydomain and not mydomain.zendesk.com.
|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. To set the value of drop-down list options, use the tag you added when you created the drop-down list. For custom date fields, use either the YY/MM/DD or YYYY-MM-DD format.
To locate the key for a custom user field:
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.
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, if you have Guide enabled. 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
- In Admin Center, click the People icon () in the sidebar, then select Configuration > End users.
- In the User welcome email section, deselect
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
If you're on Professional or Enterprise, you can add users to multiple organizations during your bulk import.
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 theSupport API - Set Membership as Default endpoint.
Assigning an agent to an Enterprise custom role
On Enterprise, you can assign agents custom roles Custom roles are often used to give agents extra permissions or increased restrictions.
If you've created your own custom agent roles, you can assign one of these roles to users during a bulk import by including the name of the custom role in the restriction field. In the following CSV example, a user is assigned a custom role:
"name","email","external_id","details","notes","phone","role", "restriction","organization","tags" Enrico Venticello,"firstname.lastname@example.org",,,,,"agent","Help Desk Mastermind",,
In the example above, the user (Enrico Venticello) is given a general role ("agent"), with the additional permissions associated with the custom agent role ("Help Desk Mastermind").
Note that you must have already created the custom role in Zendesk Support before you can use it in your CSV. If you accidentally use a role name that doesn't exist in Support, the user's role defaults to Light Agent. You can then manually change the agent's role in 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 do this, give the same external ID (and all the ticket fields to be imported, for example, role) 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.
- In Admin Center, click the People icon () in the sidebar, then select Bulk actions > Import users.
Create new users: This is selected by default and cannot be disabled. This is because users that exist in the import data, but not in Zendesk, will always be created.
Update existing users: You can additionally select this import option to replace existing data for the users listed 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. For a list of exceptions, see Updating existing user profile data.
- (Optional) Select Include external ID in CSV output file.
When the import process is complete, you will receive an email notification that includes a link to a separate CSV import results file. You can use this link to download the file and view the results of your import.
The file shows the status of the user data that you attempted to import (Created, Updated, Skipped). It includes the email address or an external ID for each user that is created or updated, depending on the contents of the file you imported and whether Include external ID in CSV output file was enabled.
If you don’t enable Include external ID in CSV output file, external IDs are excluded from the CSV import results file. External IDs are additional identifiers such as an employee number, customer reference number, or a user ID from another system. A user can only have one unique external ID. It is an optional attribute for 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
When doing a bulk import, you can choose to update existing users, which allows you to update the user profile data of users that you've already added. 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:
- external_idNote: External IDs must be unique for each user.
- 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)