CSV Importer creates identical Sections if they already exist

I’m using the CSV importer to import a set of tasks broken into multiple sections. If I import them into a project that already has those named sections, it still creates new sections (with the same name) under the existing empty ones. If I then import a second CSV that uses the same section names, I get a third set of sections in the project (which means three lots of each section name).

The CSV docs suggest this shouldn’t happen and that if an imported task uses a section name that already exists, the task will be added under that section. (https://asana.com/guide/help/api/csv-importer#gl-tips)

Steps to reproduce:

  • Start with a project that has section names (all empty)
  • Import a CSV of tasks that use those same section names
  • Asana creates a second set of populated sections and leaves the initial ones empty

Browser version:
Chrome Version 78.0.3904.70 (Official Build) (64-bit)

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Hi @danbrown, in order to investigate this further, we would need access to your CSV file and other private information that can’t be shared in the Forum for security reasons, so I would recommend reaching out to our support team with the following information:

  • The URL of this conversation to save you from re-explaining everything
  • Your CSV file
  • A screenshot of your project show your existing Sections + the URL of this project

With this info, our support team will be able to either reproduce and escalate a bug to our Development team, or to tell you what you’re doing wrong and how to fix it! Sorry for not being able to help you further via the Forum with this specific issue, but don’t hesitate to reach out if there is anything else we can help with!

Thanks, I have submitted a ticket.

I was able to duplicate this really easily with a blank project and a simple CSV (with no private data) so I have shared that example.

CSV contents were…

Name,Description,Assignee,Collaborator,Start Date,Due Date,Type,Section/Column,Notes,Subtask of
Task One,One,
Task Two,Two,
Task Three,Three,

2 Likes

This exact same behavior is happening to me. The section in the CSV is identical to the project I am importing it into but it ignores it and creates a duplicate section.

I got some detailed feedback from Asana support (thanks Vanessa!) which I’m sharing below…

For context, we are currently working to allow users like yourself to convert Projects between List and Board formats. Building this feature requires that the two Project types function similarly on the backend and, due to Lists being several years older than Boards, this wasn’t the case to start with. The changes that we are currently making to sections are necessary to make Lists (which have sections) and Boards (which do not have sections) function in the same way.

We are in the process of slowly migrating domains, like yours, to this new section model. In the old model, sections would behave like tasks, and would have ID’s. This is no longer the case, so when you import a CSV file into a project, all sections will be imported even if the project already has sections with the same names.

Sorry again for the inconvenience here, Dan. I’ve gone ahead and made a note of your feedback for our Product Team so that they can take it into consideration as final touches and tweaks are made.

So for now, we can’t rely on the CSV importer to drop tasks into the same sections, but it will be the case in future.

@danbrown, Did you get more information besides what you quoted here? Because based on what you show here, I don’t see any promise of support for reusing the existing sections.

Thanks,

Larry

1 Like

Hi Larry, sorry for the slow reply. I inferred from Vanessa’s comments that once sections are no longer treated like tasks…

We are in the process of slowly migrating domains, like yours, to this new section model. In the old model, sections would behave like tasks, and would have ID’s. This is no longer the case, so when you import a CSV file into a project, all sections will be imported even if the project already has sections with the same names.

…then the API that manages imports will not create duplicate sections (effectively tasks with the same name, which might be desired) as they will be of a different type (unlikely to want multiples of a “section” type in a project) and they can more easily handle this during an import.

Hope that makes sense.

Thanks,
Dan

@danbrown, Perhaps that will be the case, but I’m not sure I’d wager on that!

Larry

I’m keen to know when this issue is resolved or if there is a work around. To repeat Dan’s problem, importing a CSV file simply duplicates existing Sections and Custom Fields which is very annoying!

Be sure to vote HERE: CSV Import to existing Sections if you haven’t already.

@Marie & @Natalia do we need to merge these topics?