Types of Columns

Required, optional, and custom columns

Types of Columns

Required Columns

A required column is a column that must be present in the uploaded spreadsheet. This is data that must be present for an import to be successful/for the data to be useful. If a required column is not present, the upload will be blocked. Required columns are pre-defined during template creation.

When uploading a contacts sheet, Name may be required column. If Name is not present, it is impossible to create contacts.

Optional Columns

An optional column is a column that may be present in the uploaded spreadsheet, but is not required. This is data that may augment an import, but the import will succeed without. Optional columns are pre-defined during template creation.

When uploading a contacts sheet, Birthday may be an optional column. Some people may include birthdays in their contacts, while others may choose not to. Including birthday information will augment the contacts, but is not required to create them.

Custom Columns

A custom column is a column of a specified data type for which a fixed header is not pre-defined in a template.

Custom columns provide support for two main use cases:

  1. An unknown number of columns of the specified data type. For a given custom column of data type Number, the uploaded spreadsheet may include columns Number₁, Number₂, Number₃... Numberₙ.
  2. The user wants to create a new field via spreadsheet import that does not already exist in the system. The name of the original column is passed through during upload.

When uploading a contacts sheet, a custom column of type Date may exist. Meeting Date 1, Meeting Date 2, Meeting Date 3, etc are examples of columns that need date formatting but were not planned for in the template ahead of time.