Manage Duplicates: Prevent Duplicates Part I - Duplicate Prevention Settings
- This tutorial will cover how to configure duplicate prevention settings.
- Duplicate prevention settings dictate when the system thinks a new contact record being enter via direct back end entry, via online/website integration, via Connect Sync, and via the Import Utility matches an existing record or not.
- If entering data directly in to the system and the system thinks the new record matches an existing record, the system will not let you enter the record. You will need to update the existing record, change the matching information, or change your duplicate prevention settings. For example, if your duplicate prevention settings are first name and last name and you are trying to enter "Carl Smith" into the system and you already have a Carl Smith in the system, you cannot enter a second Carl Smith because they have the same first and last name. If the second Carl Smith is a different person than the first one, then you will need to add another field to your duplicate prevention settings so the system can tell they are two different people (for instance, add email or Address Line 1 to your duplicate prevention settings).
- If entering data via Connect sync, Import Utility, or online web forms and the system thinks the new record matches an existing record (based on the duplicate prevention settings), the system WILL UPDATE THE EXISTING RECORD with the new information being added (the new data will overwrite the existing data).
- To set your duplicate prevention settings, start by clicking on Contacts on the Main Menu to open the contacts sub-menu and select Manage Duplicates under the Contacts header.
- On the resulting screen, click on the Prevent tab at the top to see your current duplicate prevention settings.
- Select each option that you wish for the system to consider when determining if a given contact is a duplicate of another contact.
- For individuals, First Name and Last Name are always checked/included; you can optionally also include email address and/or any part of the mailing address. For Organizations, Organization Name is always considered; you can optionally also include any part of the mailing address.
- All of the selected fields must match EXACTLY for the system to consider them duplicates.
First Name and Last Name Selected
The duplicate prevention settings pictured about would NOT consider these records duplicates because they have different first names.
First Name and Last Name Selected
Jim Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Smith email@example.com
The duplicate prevention settings pictured above WOULD consider these records duplicates because they have the same First and Last Names (same goes if they had different mailing addresses).
First Name, Last Name, and Email Address Selected
Sarah Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Smith email@example.com
The duplicate prevention settings pictured above would NOT consider these duplicates (same first name and last name but different email addresses - ALL THREE checked items must be the same). If the duplicate prevention settings were first name and last name only, then the system would consider these duplicates because the first names and last names are the same.
- Blank fields are not ignored and are considered separate values (Example: One record has an email, the other doesn’t, those are both considered as an email address and determined to be different emails/not the same.)
Same settings as above - First Name, Last Name, and Email Address selected
Teresa Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Teresa Smith (no email address)
With the above pictured duplicate prevention settings, these contacts would NOT be considered duplicates because they have different email addresses (the blank email address is still compared/included).
- If the field allows you to indicate a number of characters, this represents how many characters of that field value must match for the contacts to be considered duplicates.
First 3 of First Name and First 5 of Last Name Selected
These would be considered duplicates because the first 3 characters of First Name and the first 5 characters of Last Name are the same.
Same settings as above
These WOULD be considered duplicates because the first 3 characters of First Name and the first 5 characters of Last Name are the same (if entering data via Connect Sync, Import Utility, or Online web form, the system would update the existing record/add Jimmy Johnsberg's information to Jim Johnson's record).
- Selecting First and Last Name along with at least Email or Address is recommended, to prevent the system from identifying contacts that happen to have the same name as duplicates.
- You have the option, for individual contacts, to have the system consider First Name, Last Name, and Email Address AND/OR parts of mailing address.
- If you select AND here, that means that the system will search/compare First Name,Last Name, Email Address, AND the Mailing Address. If you select OR, that means the system will compare First Name, Last Name, and Email Address OR First Name, Last Name, and Mailing Address.
- After making your selections, click the orange Review Settings button in the lower right.
- This will bring up a pop up box that will show you the impact of the settings you have chosen.
- When you have finished selecting fields to consider, click on Save in the lower right.
- In the upper right hand corner, you will see an orange box that indicates who on staff was the last person to change/update the duplicate prevention settings as well as the date/time when the settings were last changed.
- Click on this box to bring up the history of changes to your duplicate prevention settings.
- Knowing this history of what your settings were at particular dates/times can help when trying to identify why a record was or was not flagged as a duplicate.
- In general, you should not be changing your duplicate prevention settings frequently. Once you identify the optimal settings for your organization/data, the settings should not be changed.