Importing clients into Senta from a CSV file is much quicker than entering them by hand, and it's really simple to do.  

In this page you'll find out about

  • getting your CSV file ready
  • setting up the import
  • importing the clients
You may already have a suitable CSV file, but we offer two template spreadsheets to complete if you prefer.  You can find them at the foot of this page. One has a couple of rows of example data, but is otherwise identical to the other.

Getting your CSV file ready

You can prepare your CSV from scratch, from a CSV file that you already have, or from our template Excel spreadsheet.  If you choose to use the Excel spreadsheet, you will need to save it is a CSV file to use it with Senta.

Your CSV file must have one header row, containing column titles.  The Senta importer will try to automatically match your columns to fields in Senta.

Each row in Senta has three sections: 

1) Information about the client (these columns are blue in the template spreadsheet)

2) Information about the services you provide to the client (these columns are pink in the template spreadsheet)

3) Information about the contact(s) at the client (these columns are green in the template spreadsheet)

You can import more than one contact for each client.  Just repeat the contact columns as many times as necessary. 

Key field

We recommend you have a column in your file that has a unique identifier for each client -- a key.  This could be a client number / file number, UTR or just their name -- any value that every client has and which doesn't change.

A key lets you import repeatedly and allows the importer to update existing records.  This can be useful for example if you add more details to your CSV and want to re-import the data.  If you don't have a key value, the importer won't know what clients to update, and will simply add them all again.

Once you have decided on your key value for each client... don't change them! 

Date formats

Dates should be in the format "dd/mm/yyyy", e.g. 31/12/2015

Column contents

Each column should contain one type of data.  For example, if there is a column called "Registration date", then make sure it only contains dates -- not extra data, such as "n/a" or "Applied for.  31/12/2015"

It might not be an issue now, but you may want to use this data for filtering, or workflows, in the future -- so it's best to try and make your data nice and clean at the beginning.


Many fields in Senta are dropdowns -- you choose values in them from a dropdown list -- and it's important that the values you enter in the spreadsheet match the values that are already set up in the lookup lists on Senta.  

For example, "client state" can be either "Client" or "Prospect" or "Former client".  

If you want to add extra values to the lookups, you can either do that in advance or just get the importer to do it on the fly.  We recommend you do this in advance, to make sure your data is very orderly.  You can see and edit all the lookups in Senta by going to Settings > Lookups.  

If you prefer to add missing values on the fly, then just tick the "Add missing values" tickbox in the importer.   

User data

If you are importing the names of users into User fields, such as the names of account managers or bookkeepers, we recommend you enter both their first and last name in your spreadsheet. This ensures that Senta is able to match these names to any existing users in your site. For this reason, you should also ensure that the name you enter on your spreadsheet matches the way the user's name is written in Senta.

For example, if a user is called Michael Smith in Senta, do not enter their name in the spreadsheet as Mike Smith.

If you are importing the names of users into Manager fields, you will need to use the ID of that user rather than the first and last name. The ID can be found in the URL when accessing the specific user's set up page via Settings > Users:


For any of the services listed on the import spreadsheet, just enter "yes" in the column for any client where you want to turn that service on. For more details of how to do this, please see the guide to updating services in bulk.


The importer has three steps: 

1) Upload your CSV file onto the importer.  

2) Tell Senta how to map columns in your CSV file to fields in Senta

3) Senta will import all the rows, making clients and contacts

To get started, go to the Clients menu and choose Import Clients

Step 1: Upload or choose a file

Drag and drop your CSV file onto the importer.  If you prefer, you can click an upload button.  This is useful when you don't have an easy way to drag and drop files, for example on a mobile device.  

When you upload a file, Senta will store it in Documents > Uncategorised documents.  You can the file once the import is complete. 

If you like, you can use a file you've previously uploaded into Senta.  This can be a file from an earlier import, or just a file you've uploaded yourself.  

Step 2: Map columns

Once you've uploaded or chosen your file, you need to map the columns.  This tells Senta which where each column should end up in Senta.

Senta will try to set up the mappings for you, but you must check these carefully! Senta may not be able to determine the correct destination.  For example, suppose you have an Address field in your CSV... does this belong to the client or the contact? 


1) For each column, tell Senta whether or not you want to import the column.  

2) Only tick the "key" tickbox in a column if you're adding new data to existing clients. The key is what Senta uses to match the spreadsheet you are importing with the data that is already in Senta. We recommend you only use one or two columns as keys, for example "client name" and/or "client ID". When importing new columns you do not need to tick "key" for every column.

When Senta does the import, for each row, it will find the existing clients using this key... and update it instead of adding a new record.  You'll be able to see how many records will be updated vs created. 

3) Choose the target field in Senta.  You can click on Choose field to show a list of available forms and fields in Senta.  Choose the correct one and click OK.  You can change this if you decide your mappings should be different. 

4) Senta shows you the type.  If the type is a dropdown, Senta would expect your cells to contain the exact values in the lookup list on Senta.  However, you can tick Add missing values to add your cell values to the lookup as it imports.  

5) Check to see if any rows have issues. If data can't be imported for any reason, a red triangle will be shown in the left-hand column, and in the cell that's causing a problem.  If you don't correct any issues, then Senta will skip those cells when it imports.   

Updating existing records

If you want to update your records, you must nominate one column to be a "key".  When Senta does the import, for each row, it will find the existing clients using this key... and update it instead of adding a new record.  You'll be able to see how many records will be updated vs created. 

For an example of updating client information in bulk, please see our guide to bulk adding services for clients.

Please note, if you are updating client fields and import any blank fields, these will override existing client data within Senta.

Adding new fields

If you have any columns on your spreadsheet that do not yet have fields in Senta, you can create new ones during the import process:

1) Click on 'Choose field' on the column you wish to map to a new field

2) From the field picker window choose 'Create'

3) Name your new field and click 'Save'. 

You can now complete your import and the newly created fields will be added automatically to the client records. They will be added to the General tab of the client records in Senta. 

If you wish to move these fields later, you can find a guide to moving and copying fields here.

Import records

When you're happy that everything's set up... just click on the Import records tab.  

You'll see various options to import all records, just the new records, or reimport just the existing records. 

Once you click one of the buttons, Senta will import the records.  You don't have to stay and wait on the importer -- Senta will give you a notification when it's done.

Helpful Links

How is the CSV import file organised?