Updating existing items via Import

Along with using CSV import to create new items in your timeline, you can also use CSV import to update existing items.

This might be helpful if you have data in another application or from another source that continues to be updated after your initial timeline data has been created.

The steps to using CSV import to update data are the same as using it to import data, but you must take particular care with the Internal Identifier column, which is used to determine whether the data will be updated or created new.

Steps to import a file

  1. Ensure your CSV file is formatted correctly, and matches the expected data formats for each column as listed below:
    • Adding a header row with labels that match the column labels used during importing will allow Aeon Timeline to automatically match the column, reducing configuration steps for you
  2. In particular, make sure the data you will use for the Internal Identifier column is correct
  3. Open the timeline file you want to import the data into (or create a new file)
  4. Choose Import CSV or TSV... from the File menu
  5. In the Open file dialog, select your CSV file
  6. Adjust the global and column settings that will be used to import the file (see below)
  7. To update existing data, make sure that the correct column is configured as an Internal Identifier
  8. Keep an eye out for any error messages associated with each column 
    • These will let you know if there are any issues with your data that you need to fix up
    • If there are errors, you will need to cancel the import, correct your CSV file, and start again from Step 3 to continue
  9. Click Next: Confirm Data, and a confirmation screen will tell you how many items of each type will be created or updated during importing, and how many rows will be ignored.
  10. Click Import to perform the import. 
    • Depending on the amount of data you are importing, this may take several minutes to complete.

Setting the Internal Identifier column correctly

As discussed above, the column you choose as Internal Identifier is critical to ensuring the correct data will be updated.

This column can take the following values:

Value Type Expected Value Purpose
1 Previously Imported ID The same value that was used as the Internal Identifier during a previous import that created the item being targeted.
  • This value is recorded internally by the file when data is imported, but it is not shown within the Aeon Timeline interface
Allows you to perform repeated imports using data from either the same source CSV file (with modifications/corrections as required), or from the same original application source that generates its own consistent IDs.
2 Existing Display ID The display ID of an existing item within your timeline file
  • This value can be found Spreadsheet View (when you turn on the appropriate column) or the Item Inspector
Allows you to perform CSV updates on any items that already exist inside Aeon Timeline, regardless of how they were created
3 New Value Any alphanumeric string If the value does not match either of the two above options, a new item will be created.
  • The newly created item will be assigned this new value as its Internal Identifier, which allows it to be updated on subsequent imports using Option 1 above.
4 Blank An empty field A new item will be created, and no internal identifier will be associated with it.
  • To update it in future, you must use the Display ID that will be generated for this item after it is imported.