Import Subscribers to a List

This feature requires Manager user level or higher.

Before you import subscribers, create a MailChimp list. Then, you can upload a CSV or tab-delimited text file, copy and paste from Excel, or import directly from an integrated application to add subscribers to the list. If you use Mac Address Book, check out MailChimp Import.

Below, you'll learn how to import your list, match fields, and format your field data.

Import Your List


When you import subscribers to a new or existing list, we'll remove duplicate email addresses from that list, and scan for bounced and unsubscribed addresses as well. Keep in mind, however, that lists in MailChimp are independent of each other and don't share information, so we can't detect duplicates, bounces, or unsubscribes across multiple lists.

Import from a File

If your contacts are stored in a CSV or tab-delimited file of contacts, you can upload it directly into your MailChimp list. To import from an Excel file (.xls or .xlsx), use the Copy/Paste from Excel option on the import screen.

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. Click the drop-down menu next to the list you want to work with, and choose Import.
  3. Click Import from a CSV or TXT File if your contacts are stored in a CSV file, or click Copy/Paste from Excel if they're stored in Excel.
    Select Upload from CSV or Copy/Paste from Excel
  4. Depending on the method you're using, use the Browse button to choose the file you want to import, or copy and paste your contacts from your Excel file.
  5. In the Import email addresses as drop-down menu, choose Subscribed.
  6. Decide whether to Auto-update my existing list. If your list is brand new, leave this box unchecked. Check the box to update information for existing subscribers or to add new fields to your list.
  7. Click Upload List.

Import from an Integrated Application

MailChimp also offers several ways to add contacts through integrated applications. To see available options and import a list, follow the steps below.

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. Click the drop-down menu next to the list you want to work with, and choose Import.
  3. Click the application you want to import from.
    Select application to import from
  4. Follow the prompts to set up your integrated import. Instructions vary by application.
  5. After you're done, click Import List.

Import Contacts Using MailChimp's API

If your database or CRM is not listed under Import Options, check out our directory of third-party integrations to see if anyone has developed a solution using MailChimp's API that suits your needs. If not, an experienced developer can create a MailChimp integration for you. Our API is free to use.

Please note that working with our API is for advanced users. Contact your developer, or hire a MailChimp Expert if you need assistance.

Match Your Fields

After your file is imported to MailChimp, match the columns from your file to fields in your list. We'll show you the current column label, its field type, and some example data from each column. You can customize field names and types, or skip irrelevant columns.

To add a new field, choose New Column Name from the drop-down menu, type in a name for the column, and choose the field type.

  1. Click Edit to change the column name, and choose a field type from the drop-down menu.
  2. Click Save to move to the next field or Skip if you don't want to add the field to your list.
  3. Once you've matched all your columns, you'll see a success message. Click Complete Import.

About Field Format

When you import a new list or update an existing list, all your files character encoding should be UTF-8 and certain fields must be formatted a particular way. To ensure all of your subscriber information is imported successfully and yields consistent results, it is critical that each field type follows our guidelines. Review these in our Format List Fields article.

Access List Field Settings

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. Click the drop-down menu next to the list you want to work with, and choose Settings.
  3. Click List fields and *|MERGE|* tags.

On this page, the Field type is shown next to each Field label. Review list field formatting to ensure your import file is set up correctly.

What to Do Next

Now that you've created a list and added subscribers to it, you're probably ready to create a campaign. If you're already familiar with the basic steps to create a new campaign, review our best practices for campaign design and layout.

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