Are there best practices for importing to Shotgun?

Let’s start a post on tips and tricks for importing to shotgun! Please share any tips and best practices you’ve been using with the Shotgun importer.


For anyone new to Shotgun and interested in learning more about the importer, I recommend checking out our Getting Your Project Started video topic, or companion doc here.

Now, onto some tips and best practices on using the importer:

Import entities and the things entities are linked to at the same time

As of 8.16, we can import entities and create entities they are linked to, all through the importer. Examples:

Create fields on the fly through the importer

When we’re importing data from our excel sheet, but we notice that one of the columns cannot be matched properly since the field doesn’t exist yet, we can create the field on the fly by:

a) searching for the field first
b) creating the field if it doesn’t exist yet

Here’s a video example of this in action, or check out our companion doc with the same info.

Importing a large number of records at once

When importing a large number of records at once, we recommend doing the import in smaller batches to avoid any errors/timeouts.

Creating a template to import from

To avoid any formatting issues or field mismatch confusion, it’s best to curate a Shotgun page so only the fields that you care about are visible, then export that page as a template to craft your CSV from.

Updating records, instead of creating new ones

Let’s say we created Assets when we imported our Shots, but need to update Assets with more data, like their descriptions, types, and statuses. We can do this with the importer, by importing our Assets, but at step 3 where you specify an ID. Specifying an ID at this step will make it so shotgun recognizes the entity that already exists in Shotgun based on the column selected.

We can do the same kind of update with any other entity in Shotgun using the importer.

Check out this video for details, or the companion doc here.

Use Task Templates with the importer to create tasks at the same time

When we have an entity with a Task Template, we can import those entities with the Task Template we’d like for each record—that way we’re creating Tasks at the same time.

Example: let’s say we’re importing shots and would like all of our Shots to have the standard “Animation - Shot” Task Template already created in Shotgun. In our excel sheet prior to importing, we can add a “Task Template” column, then import Shots with their associated Task Templates. That way all of our Tasks will be ready to go.

Forget to import an entity with Task Templates? Don’t sweat it! You can always batch update the Task Template field on an entity after the import. Check out this video here, or companion doc.

Date formatting options

As of 8.14, date fields can be formatted at the time of an import (which may be different to the format you have chosen in your site’s preferences).

Have another tip to share? We’d love to hear about it and so would the community—so please reply with it on this post :grinning: