Multi-Select Picklist Bulk Append and Subtract

multi-select picklist


Bulk updating multi-select picklists is critical for maintaining order in your CRM. Multi-select fields are often used for tracking things like interest in products, events attended, and other data that requires consistent updating. Multi-select picklists are great for maintaining consistency in your data.

But the issue is that appending new data to existing multi-select fields requires that you re-import your historical data along with the new multi-select data. Adding new selections to existing selections, without including those previous selections in the CSV, causes that data to be overwritten and lost in the most popular CRMs. With each new import, you risk mistakes that overwrite data that is critical for segmentation, personalization, and organization.

With Insycle, you can append and subtract multi-select picklist data in bulk and on-import.

How It Works

Appending new data to existing multi-select fields requires that you re-import your historical data along with the new multi-select data in most CRMs.

Insycle allows you to both append new data to, or subtract data from, multi-select picklists. When appending, Insycle will add your new data to the end of your existing data. This can be done both in bulk and in while importing data into your CRM from CSV.

Append or Subtract Multi-Select Picklists In Bulk

First, using the Bulk Operations module, you use rules to filter data down to those records that you would like to update. With the right records filtered, you can then append or subtract data from multi-select picklists in just a few clicks.

Step 1: Define Filter

To update multi-select picklist fields, we will use the Bulk Operations Module. Navigate there.

Then, we have to select the record type—contacts, companies, deals, custom objects, or comparable record type in your CRM—so that we can bulk update a specific field within that record type.

In Step 1, we tell Insycle how to filter your database down to the records that you would like to update.

In this example, we'll filter down our records to only those that have no data for our multi-select picklist field.



With this filter in place, we have a list of contacts that meet those specifications. By clicking the yellow “Search” button in Step 1, we’ll be able to preview the contacts identified using this filter in the Record Viewer.

Record Viewer Preview


When you make changes to the filter, you will need to click the search button again to reload this preview.

Step 2: Choose Picklist to Bulk Append

In Step 2, we can add new multi-select picklist data to the field, or remove existing data.

add multi-select picklist append


We select our multi-select field, the "Add" action, and the picklist value selections that we would like to add to the selected fields. Here, you can add or remove selections from these fields, in bulk.

add or remove


Step 3: Preview or Update

Now, with our Filter and update Action in place, we can run the bulk operation to update our multi-select field with these new selections.

You can choose to Preview the changes or Update live to your CRM. A preview will generate a CSV that will show the changes that will be made to your data. Here, you can check to make sure that everything is working as expected and make any necessary changes before pushing the updates to your live database.

You can do this by clicking the Review Button in Step 3.



A popup will appear. Here, we can select the Preview Mode or Update Mode.

preview or update


For many tasks in Bulk Operations, it may be a good idea to run a preview to view how the changes will look in your database before running in Update mode.

Then click the Next button.

In Step 2 of the review process, you can choose where you send the generated report. Your email will automatically be added to the list but can add other colleagues that you are collaborating with here, along with additional context.

bulk update


Once finished, click the “Next” button.

In Step 3, you can choose whether you would like this operation to run one-time immediately, or continuously on a set schedule. There are two tabs on this screen — Automate and Run Now.

automate or run now


In some situations, it may be prudent to ensure your multi-select fields are updated on a regular basis, in which case automation may be the right choice. In others, a one-time update may make more sense.

Append to Multi-Select Picklists On Import

Typically, you can not append CSV data to existing multi-select picklist fields on import without including the historical data in your CSV. If they are not included, the previous selections will be overwritten.

However, Insycle makes appending to multi-select picklists from CSV easy. You simply upload your import CSV file, map the fields, and choose "Append" instead of "Update" for the multi-select field that you would like to append to.

Just like that, you can append new data to multi-select picklists without having to include historical data in the import.

Step 1: Map CSV Columns, Set Append

When you open the Magical Import module, first upload the CSV file that you would like to import.

Uploading a file into Insycle does not import it to the CRM right away, instead, you can prepare the data in a variety of ways prior to actually importing it to the CRM.

choose csv file


After uploading your .CSV data, Insycle analyzes your file and compares the columns in the file to fields in your CRM database.

Then, it automatically detects fields that match and maps them for you.

If your .CSV contains fields that are not matched to your CRM, a red exclamation point error notification will show.

Exception on field


These fields need to be mapped manually. If they remain unmapped they will not be imported. You can choose to leave those columns unmapped, or click the “X” next to the column when you hover over it to remove it from the list.

With all relevant fields mapped, you then tell Insycle how to use the data on a field-by-field basis using Import Mode, located directly below the field mapping section.

To append data to your multi-select picklist field, select "Append."

append to multi-select picklist


This will append the data in your CSV to the existing data in your database. You do not have to include the historical selections in the CSV and will not overwrite historical data in the field.

If the selections included in your CSV do not match existing picklist values in your CRM, an error will be produced, with the "Invalid picklist value" notification.

errors for picklist

Step 2: Choose Identity Field & Mode

email identity field


Insycle uses Identity Fields to compare your CSV to your Intercom data. Identity fields must be "unique identifiers." These are data points that could only belong to a single contact—such as email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses, or ID numbers.

email identity field


Note About Multiple Identity Fields

You can select more than one identity field, however Insycle will check all of the fields to match. If one single field does not match, the corresponding matching CRM record will not be identified and will not be deleted.

Using the "Update Existing and Create Net New" setting, Insycle will fail to match many records and instead will create a new record.

If you use the 'Only Update Existing' setting with many Identity Fields, you will identify far fewer existing records and much of your CSV data will not be imported, and data will not be appended, because Insycle will not be able to find the correct record to update.

too specific


Outside of specific use cases, it is typically best to use a single identity field.

Note About Overly Broad Identity Fields

For example, using a field that is not uniquely identifying. Doing this means that Insycle is likely to identify the wrong record in your CRM as a match, and will not be able to identify a record to pull data from. For instance, there are probably many people with the first name 'John' in your CRM, but you want to make sure that you are pulling data from the correct record for John. This is why it is important that we use uniquely identifying fields.

too broad


In the “Records Mode” section, you tell Insycle how the imported data should be used.

You have three options.

  • Update existing and create net new.
  • Only update existing.
  • Only create net new.

Step 3: Add Functions

In this step, you can prepare and update your data in various ways before importing. For instance, you can format specific fields, cleanse data, and perform other actions to cleanse and organize your data prior to importing.

To do this, select the “Functions” tab. Here, you’ll be able to select a specific field and then a function to apply to that field.

prepare data


Step 4: Manage Data

In Step 4, you have several additional options for managing your data before importing it into your CRM.

list, update, associate, format


These features give you additional control over your import.

List Bulk Update Associate Date Format
Add your imported data to an existing list. Only available for HubSpot.


Step 5: Import

Now, you can go through the process of importing your data.



Click on the “Import X Contacts” button and the import will run — updating your data directly in your CRM.

After the import runs, you’ll receive a report that breaks down how many records you tried to import and how many succeeded, failed, or were updated, deleted, or unmodified.


Click the Run ID to open a CSV record of the import. On the generated CSV, you can see your multi-select picklist value field both before and after appending your data to see the changes.

before after multi select


A record of this report will always be kept in your “Activity Tracker” that you can download at any time. You will also receive an email that breaks down this same information.

Append Multi-Select Picklists While Deduplicating

Additionally, when deduplicating, Insycle's field-by-field master selection feature allows you to append multi-select picklist data into master selection fields as well. That way, when you merge records, you can keep all available context for "Notes" and similar fields.

To learn more, see Bulk Merge Duplicate People, Companies.

Preview Changes Before They Go Live

You can preview the changes that you are making to your data before those changes are pushed to your live database. When you run select modules in Insycle, you have the option of choosing between Preview Mode and Update Mode once you click the button.


You can set up ongoing data maintenance automation with Insycle on the module level, using Recipes, or integrating with Workflows. You can view all scheduled automations on the “Automations” page on your dashboard.

Audit Trail and History

The Activity Tracker lets you review all changes made through Insycle. At any time you can download a CSV report of the operation and records affected, including while using Bulk Operations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I append data to picklists while deduplicating?

Yes. Insycle's field-by-field master selection feature allows you to append multi-select picklist data into master selection fields as well. That way, when you merge records, you can keep all available context for "Notes" and similar fields.

To learn more, see Bulk Merge Duplicate People, Companies.

Using Insycle, do I have to include historical picklist values in my CSV?

No, Insycle enables you to append fresh data to your existing values without including the historical data on your CSV.

To learn more, see Append to Multi-Select Picklists On Import above.

Can I append picklist data in bulk without using a CSV?

Yes, you can append data to existing picklist fields in bulk, without using a CSV.

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