Import Overwrite Options When Loading from CSV, TSV or Excel

Last Updated on 17th October 2018 by Jan Lamb

Cradle can import data from external files in different formats. One of the most common formats is CSV / TSV (comma separated value and tab separated value). When data is imported from CSV / TSV files, you can choose different import overwrite options. The option that you choose will control whether your data is imported and, if it is imported, which existing data in your database will be kept, or replaced by data from the import file.

Items and Attributes

To explain these options, let’s use a simple picture to represent an item and the attributes inside it:

Cradle item and attributes
An Item With Some Attributes

Example

Lets say in your Cradle database you have an item with the following attributes:

item in Cradle database
A Cradle Database Item with Some Attributes Set

meaning that the item in the database has values set in the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th attributes.

In a spreadsheet you have a row with data in columns corresponding to the 1st, 2nd and 5th attributes of the item in the database:

item in import file
An Item in an Import File with Some Attributes Set

Import Overwrite Options

Option A – Overwrite On

If Overwrite is On then, for each row in the spreadsheet or each record in the CSV / TSV file, Cradle will find the work-in-progress item (if any) and delete everything inside it, and completely replace the contents of the work-in progress item with the data from that record or spreadsheet row.

You would get the following result:

import overwrite options set on in Cradle requirement management software
Import Overwrite Options – On

As you can see, only the data from the file or spreadsheet (the yellow cells) are now in the item, all previous attributes (the blue cells) are now gone.

Option B – Overwrite Off

If Overwrite is Off then if there is an item in the database for the record in the CSV / TSV file, or row in the spreadsheet, no import will occur. If there is no item in the database for the record or row, then the result is the same as Overwrite set to On.

Option C – Overwrite Merge

This is the more interesting case!

If Overwrite is Merge then, for each row in the spreadsheet or record in the CSV / TSV file, Cradle will find the work-in-progress item (if any) and replace the attributes of that item with the columns from that row in the spreadsheet (or field i the CSV / TSV file) so any attributes in the item that have not been mapped to a column in the spreadsheet row (or field in the CSV / TSV file) will be left alone.

So the attributes that already exist in the item in the database and the attributes in the spreadsheet row or file record are merged:

import overwrite options set on in Cradle system engineering software
Import Overwrite Options – Merge

You would get the following result:

import overwrite options set on in Cradle system engineering software
Import Overwrite Options – Merge

Attributes in the spreadsheet row or file record have been loaded into the item. All other attributes in the item have not been changed.

Summary

Setting Overwrite to Merge is useful to add data to database items from an external CSV / TSV file or Excel spreadsheet. Any attributes not in the external file are not affected by the import.

To get more help importing information into Cradle, explore the Cradle help here.