Import CSV data into an existing base
  • 14 Jun 2023
  • 3 Minutes to read
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Import CSV data into an existing base

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Article Summary

Airtable makes it easy to get started with data from an existing CSV file, Google Sheet, or Excel Workbook. This article covers creating a new table in an existing base by uploading a CSV file or pasting cell data directly from a spreadsheet program. For other import options, please see these articles:

You can also add new records to an existing table in your base from a CSV file using the CSV import extension.

Importing CSV data from a CSV file

Keep in mind that after importing CSV data into a base, it can't be undone. We recommend taking a snapshot before making any changes to ensure your information isn't lost.
Please note that the CSV import extension row limit is limited to 25,000, and CSV imports are limited to 5MB. Suppose your data set grows beyond the limitations. In that case, we recommend splitting your information into multiple bases and then syncing it into one base as needed. Read more about Airtable sync and multi-source sync for additional information.

We recommend breaking up your data into smaller amounts to import independently using our CSV import extension. Data can also be divided into multiple bases and synced into one base as needed. Read more about Airtable sync and multi-source sync for additional information.

Open the base where you want to import your data. Click the + button next to your list of tables that says "Add or import". Click the "CSV file" button.


Or if you want to add data to an existing table, then click the drop-down arrow next to the name of that table. Then click "Import data" and select "CSV file."


Once you decide where to import the data, select a CSV file from your computer (or from a variety of other supported services). Note that there is currently a 5MB limit on CSV uploads.


This will open up the import adjustment window, where you can see a preview of what your information will look like and adjust field mappings and other settings.


If the data doesn't look quite right, you can adjust the auto-detected field types one-by-one, or disable the auto-detection of field types entirely to just get the data imported (you can always change field types later).

Disable the option to auto-select field types

In the case of this payroll CSV file example, we'll need to update the setting to remove the first row and adjust some of the field mappings.


Once the setup is looking the way you'd like it, you can click import. After importing you may want to enrich the created records with other information.



Can't find the import button? Try resizing your browser's window until it appears.

Importing data by pasting from a spreadsheet

In a spreadsheet application, select a range of cells and copy them using ⌘ + C.


Similar to the CSV import option covered above, you can either choose to paste data to an existing table or to a new table. Click the "+" button or the drop-down next to the table you'd like to update and find the "Paste table data" option.


You can then paste that data into the text box in the Paste table data dialog using ⌘ + V.


Preview your pasted data

You will be shown a preview of the header cells that will be created in your new base based on the pasted data.


If the first row in the pasted table is not a header, you can uncheck the "First record is a header" option, and every row pasted in will be added as records to the table. This will open up the same import adjustment window mentioned above.



You can also import or paste data in just after creating a new base. You'll see a sidebar on the right side with the same options discussed above.4421452632087importoptionssidebarnewbase.jpg

Converting text fields with commas

An important thing to note if you want to convert a field from a single line text field into a multiple select field or linked record field is that Airtable will read commas as separators and create an appropriate number of select tokens/links based on the number of commas.

This means that if you wish to create a link to a record with a comma in its name, you will need to delimit the desired record name with quotation marks.

So if you wanted to create a single record for the city of Denver, CO, you would need to delimit the text strings with double quotation marks so that "Denver, CO" becomes a single record, [Denver, CO], rather than two records, [Denver] and [CO].


Are there file size limits on CSV imports?

Yes, CSV imports are limited to 5MB.

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