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Importing Data into Workfront via Kick-Starts

Workfront provides a kick-start template to import data into the system. Before you import data into Workfront, we recommend that you first export a template. The template assists you with the import process. You can then populate the template and import it back to Workfront.

Exporting the Kick-Start Template

You can import data into Workfront via populated spreadsheets. To more easily populate these spreadsheets, you can first export spreadsheets that include the required fields for importing data. 

To access Kick-Starts and to begin the process of importing data:

  1. Click Setup in the upper-right corner of the Workfront interface.
  2. Expand System, expand Kick-Starts, then click Import Data.
  3. Select the type of information that you want to import. You can select multiple options for the types of data that you want to import. For example, if you are planning to populate your system with projects, as well as tasks and issues on those projects, you can download all three data sheets at one time.
    Each option is a collection of multiple tabs when downloaded. For example, when you select the Report option, all the necessary objects for creating a report are included in the exported Excel spreadsheet (views, filters, groupings, reports). 
    All of the objects listed here can be used to import data into Workfront. The only exception is the Access Levels option. The Access Levels data sheet that is included in an export is provided for reference purposes; it allows you to assign an access level to a new user account by ID.

    Not all options are displayed by default under the What to include label. The template for the following objects can be exported in the following file formats, and it contains the following sheets: 

    Object

    Exported Sheets of the Excel File

     Export Format

    Dashboard

     

     

    Parameter
    Parameter Option
    Parameter Group
    Category Parameter
    Category
    Report
    Portal Tab Section
    Dashboard
    Preferences

     Exports as .zip file.

    Report

     

     

    Parameter
    Parameter Option
    Parameter Group
    Category Parameter
    Category
    Report
    Preferences
     Exports as .zip file.

    Approval

    Step Approver
    Approval Step
    Approval
    Approval Process
    Preferences

     Exports as Excel file.

    Custom Data

    Parameter
    Parameter Option
    Parameter Group
    Category Parameter
    Category
    Preferences

     Exports as Excel file.

    Expense Type

    Expense Type
    Preferences

    Exports as Excel file.

    Hour Type

    Hour Type
    Preferences

    Exports as Excel file.

    Team

    Team Member
    Team
    Preferences

     Exports as Excel file.

    User

    User
    Preferences

     Exports as Excel file.To see the full list of options, click More Options.

    Click More Options, to export the template for additional objects. The template for the following objects can be exported in the following file formats, and it contains the following sheets:

    Object

    Exported Sheets of the Excel File

     Export Format

    Access Level Access Level
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.
    Assignment Assignment
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.
    Company Company
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.
    Email Template Email Template
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.
    Expense Expense
    Preferences
     Exports as Excel file.
    External Page External Page
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.
    Filter Filter
    Preferences
    Exports as a .zip file. 
    Group Group
    Preferences 
    Exports as Excel file.
    Grouping Grouping
    Preferences
    Exports as a .zip file.
    Hour Hour
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.
    Issue Issue
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.
    Job Role Job role
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.
    Milestone Path Milestone
    Milestone Path
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file. 
    Note Note
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.
    Portfolio Portfolio
    Preferences 
    Exports as Excel file.
    Project Queue
    Project
    Routing Rule
    Queue Topic
    Preferences
     Exports as Excel file.
    Resource Estimate Resource Estimate
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.
    Resource Pool Resource Pool
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.
    Risk Risk
    Preferences 
    Exports as Excel file.
    Risk Type Risk Type
    Preferences 
    Exports as Excel file. 
    Scorecard Scorecard Questions
    Scorecard Option
    Scorecard
    Preferences 
    Exports as Excel file. 
    Task Task
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file. 
    Template Queue
    Template
    Routing Rule
    Queue Topic
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.  
    Template Assignment Template Assignment
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file. 
    Template Task Template Task
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file. 
    Timesheet Timesheet Profile
    Timesheet
    Preferences
    Exports as Excel file.  
     View View
    Preferences 
    Exports as .zip file.

    The Dashboard and Report options allow you to select specific dashboards and reports to include in the download. All Dashboards and Reports in the system are available to export.
    You can select up to 100 Dashboards and 100 Reports in a single export.
  4. Click Download.
  5. Continue with "Populating the Excel Template with Your Data and Uploading to Workfront" to populate the template with your information. 

Populating the Excel Template with Your Data and Uploading to Workfront

You can import large numbers of objects into Workfront using kick-starts. However, consider the following limitations: 

  • You cannot update information on records that already exist in Workfront.
  • You can import only new records and their information. 
  • Import no more than 2,000 records at a time to ensure that the import does not time out.

Kick-starts are complex, specially formatted Excel workbooks that you can populate with data that needs to be imported in Workfront. 

The following sections describe how to import a kick-start file:

Exporting the Kick-Start Template

Before you import data into Workfront, we recommend that you first export a template, as described in "Exporting the Kick-Start Template."

The template assists you with the import process. You can then populate the template and import it back to Workfront.

When export the kick-start template from Workfront, you receive a blank Excel workbook, that you can then populate with your information. 

Populating the Template

When you open a blank Kick-Starts template, a number of tabs are available (the specific tabs depend on the objects selected for download). 

To understand the kick-start template: 

  • Each tab or data sheet represents an object in the application.
    For example: project, tasks, hours, dashboard, users.
  • Across the top of each tab, you see the fields that can be set during an import for each object. Remove the word "set" from the column header name and what remains is the name of the field, as it appears in the database. 
    These fields act as column headers. You must keep the column headers in the second row, and you must not modify them in any way (like changing their order or editing their names). Doing so causes an error during the import.
  • The column headers in bold represent required fields.
    The importer errors out if these are not populated.
    However, certain required fields do not need to be set when there is a default value set in the system preferences.
    For example, on the PROJ Project tab, the setCondition and setConditionType fields can be left empty, but the setGroupID and setName columns cannot.
    NOTE  It is helpful to export a Kick-Start with existing Workfront data around the objects you are trying to import, first, so that you can understand how the information in each column should be formatted when populating the Kick-Start template. For more information about to export existing data from Workfront using Kick-Starts, see "Exporting Data from Workfront via Kick-Starts."

Importing a Record

Each row of the sheet corresponds to a unique object.

  1. Fill in the isNew cell: if the object you are importing is new, the value for this column is TRUE.
    If the object is already in Workfront, the value for this column is FALSE
    TRUE imports the row. FALSE ignores its contents. 
  2. Input an ID:
    The value that you specify for this ID differs depending on whether the object is new or already exists in Workfront:
    • If the object you are importing is new (it is marked TRUE in the isNew column): specify any number for the ID. The number must be unique in the sheet. 
    • If the object you are importing already exists in the Workfront system (it is marked FALSE in the isNew column): the ID must be the alpha-numeric GUID that exists in Workfront for that object.

      For Example for projects, the value displayed in the setGroupID column must be either:

      • The GUID for an existing Group in your account of Workfront
        Or
      • The value in the ID column on the GROUP Group sheet if you are creating a new Group during the import (which will be a number)

  3. Input values for the required fields and any other fields you wish to populate during the import.
  4. (Optional) To add custom data:
  • Create a new column for each custom field that you want to include in the import process.
  • Name the columns for each custom field as follows: DE:Name of Custom Field as Appears in Workfront.
  • Fill in the column setCategoryID with the GUID of the existing custom form on which this custom field resides. This field is required when importing custom data. 

Including Dates

Workfront interprets most date formats. However, you must ensure that the column in the Excel sheet is formatted as a date. If the column is formatted as general, a number, or text, the import fails. 

When using a UNIX timestamp you need to include an additional three zeros at the end of the value. For example, if your timestamp is normally 1310029200, then you would input 1310029200000 into the cell.

Most people find it easiest to simply use a MM/DD/YYYY format (for example: 07/27/2011).

Workfront also accepts time values as part of the date (for example: 07/27/2011 09:00 or 07/27/2011 9:00 AM). If you omit a time in the date, Workfront either assumes 12:00 AM, or if it is on an object that is associated with a schedule, the time defers to the earliest time the schedule allows.

Using Wildcards

There are a few of the filter wildcards and one wildcard unique to kick-starts that can be used when populating your kick-start template.
The following table describes the wildcards that work in kick-start files.

Wildcard

Behavior

$$TODAY

When used on a setDate field, it sets the date as of midnight for the day the kick-start is imported.

This wildcard can be modified using the standard syntax allowed with this wildcard on a filter.

For example, if you want a project to start on the Monday of the week it is imported on, regardless of the day you actually perform the import, you could use $$TODAYbw. Technically, this sets your project's planned start date as 12:00 AM Sunday, but it is unlikely the schedule for the project allows work at that time, so it will essentially start at 9:00 AM Monday morning.

$$NOW

When used on a setDate field, it sets the date as of the moment the record is created during the kick-start import.

This wildcard can be modified using the standard syntax allowed with this wildcard on a filter.

For example, if you want a project to start on the 3 hours after it is imported, you could use $$NOW+3h.

$$USER.ID

When used on a setAssignedToID or other userID based field, it assigns the work or otherwise associate the record with the individual performing the import.

$$CUSTOMER

The $$CUSTOMER wildcard was added specifically for user imports. When a Workfront account is created, a user with the System Administrator access level is created (Admin User). The username assigned to the default administrator can be used as a prefix when creating other users in the account. This becomes useful when you have several individuals with very common usernames (usernames must be unique across all customers) like John Smith — who might have a username of jsmith.

By prepending the username assignment with the default administrator username, you guarantee that each username is unique (for example: $$CUSTOMER.jsmith).

Another way, and the more elegant way, to ensure usernames are unique system wide is to input the individual's email address in the setUsername field.

Understanding Attribute Name Substitution for IDs

While it is the best practice to use IDs whenever possible, sometimes it is inconvenient to cross-reference IDs from one sheet to another when setting a setAttributeID value. The kick-start importer allows you to reference values by name simply by changing the column header.

Example 1 (project import):

When importing projects, set the setGroupID of the projects by going to the GROUP Group sheet, making note of the respective Group IDs, and pasting them in the correct cells (setGroupID column) on the PROJ Project sheet.
This is feasible when working with only a few groups and projects, but if you are working with several of each, this is not practical.

To do the Attribute Name Substitution for the example described above, you change the setGroupID column header to #setGroupID GROUP name. You can then reference each project's group by name.

NOTE: The option to use Attribute Name Substitution is limited to references for existing records only.
You cannot use name substitution for objects you are creating in the same import.

Example 2 (user import):

When importing users, fill in the setRoleID from a list of roles on the ROLE Role tab.
Some of the Role IDs are for records that already exist in the account, and others are being created during the import.

For the new user records assigned to existing roles, you can use name substitution.
For the new user records assigned to newly imported roles, you cannot.
Here is how you can use both methods on the same import file:

  1. Add a column in the spreadsheet to the left of the setRoleID column.
  2. Name the new column #setRoleID ROLE name.
  3. For role assignments to existing records, input the role names in the #setRoleID ROLE name column.
    For role assignments to new role records, input the ID you assigned on the ROLE Role sheet in the setRoleID.

 Uploading the Kick-Start Excel File to Workfront

After you populated the Excel template with your data (as described in "Populating the Template"), you can upload it to Workfront. 

The kick-start import supports the following file types:

  • XML-based Excel (*.xlsx)
  • Legacy Excel (*.xls)
  • Zipped (*.zip) xlsx or xls file
    A zipped file is necessary only when importing an Excel spreadsheet that references documents, avatars, or view, filter, or grouping property files.
    When using a zipped import file, the *.zip file must have the same name as the *.xlsx or *.xls file, and all contents must be at the same file structure level (no folders).

To import the Excel template into Workfront:

  1. Click Setup in the upper-right corner of the Workfront interface.
  2. Expand System, expand Kick-Starts, then click Import Data.
  3. In the Upload data with Kick-Start spreadsheet section, click Choose File, then browse to and select the populated spreadsheet.
  4. Click Upload.
    If the Excel file takes longer than 5 minutes to upload to Workfront, the application times out and the file cannot be uploaded.
    Try importing your data in smaller batches of objects.