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Import data into repeatable fields
Import data into repeatable fields
Learn how to import child records into existing parent records. (Intermediate)
Jacob Payne avatar
Written by Jacob Payne
Updated over a week ago

This guide provides a better understanding of how to import data into repeatable fields. We will cover some important background information, then provide you with an example app from our gallery with which you can use for testing to go through the import process.


It is important to understand how Fulcrum handles child records. Child records are elements of their parent records. This is significant for two reasons:

  1. Whenever you are importing child records, there must be a column in the parent data file called fulcrum_id  and in the child data file there must be a column called fulcrum_parent_id that is populated with the fulcrum_id value of the parent record. Both the parent and child file need to be uploaded at the same time. During the mapping step (Step 2 of the import process, below) you will map the parent file to the main app (app name) and the child data file to the repeatable section that will hold the child data.

  2. If you are adding new child records or editing existing child records, you will want to make sure to select Update Existing Records in Step 1 of the import process. The only time that Create New Records should be selected is if you are importing data to create new parent records. When doing anything with the data importer, the Update Existing Records vs Create New Records is always referring to the main parent record. Creating or updating repeatable items is still updating a parent record. All repeatable data lives within the main record.

Getting Started

An example app that you can use to test this process is our Park Inventory app, which can be found in our App Gallery. This app is designed to capture general park information in the parent section and individual feature information in the child section. Add This App to your account and create a few parent and child records for testing!

Existing Data

We will be working with existing parent data in this guide. After you’ve created a few parent/child records, run an Export (as .csv) to get the data out of Fulcrum.

After downloading the export file, we can make some edits and additions to the child records in our favorite spreadsheet application. You may have edits to perform on the existing data or perhaps you need to add new data rows (which will create new child records).


Once finished with editing the data, we can begin the Import process. Place both the parent and child file into the same folder. Then compress the files together into a single .zip file.

In the Fulcrum web editor, locate the app that will receive the imported data and click on the Import button.

Step 1 - Upload file

This step is pretty straightforward. First make sure that the correct app is selected in the Choose the App field. Since we are not adding new parent records we will select Update Existing Records. Last we will select the .zip file to upload.

Step 2 - Select Tables

The second step of the import process is to map the files that you have uploaded to the corresponding destination in the app. You will want to map the parent data file to parent destination (the name of the app is used) and map the child data file to the repeatable destination (the repeatable label is used).

Step 3 - Georeference

Fulcrum will attempt to identify the correct columns to use for the location information for both the parent and child data. If you use column headers like lat and lon, latitude and longitude or x and y, then the system should locate the correct columns. Otherwise, you can select what columns to use manually.

Step 4 Mapping Fields

Since we are working with a file that was exported out of Fulcrum all the column headers should match the data names of the fields in the app.

Step 5 - Reviewing Issues

The review step is where Fulcrum reports any issues that might have come up. If there are no issues, this step will be skipped and you won’t see it. Some common issues here are when you are attempting to add a value to a choice list field that is not represented in the choice list for that field. Another common issue is not using the proper date format.

Step 6 - Summary

The summary step will provide you with information that is about to take place with your import.

If everything seems fine, click Finish. Congratulations, you’ve successfully imported repeatable child records!

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