Create an Application by Pasting Text from Another Program

You can create a new database using a simple paste operation from the clipboard. This feature is especially handy if your data currently resides in a program that's not a database or spreadsheet application, like Microsoft Word, for instance.

Note: You also can create an application by importing data. If your data is in Microsoft Excel 2007 or later, you can import the .xlsx file directly into Quickbase.  If your data is in a different application, you'll need to convert your data into the form of a .tsv or .csv file before importing it.

Formatting data for import by pasting

This section applies to data in applications other than Microsoft Excel.  If you plan to paste data from Excel, read how to prepare Excel data for import.

Be sure to format your text correctly for import before you paste it into your app. Follow these rules:

  • Use line breaks to separate each record

  • Use commas or tabs to separate fields

  • Use tables in Microsoft Word, if importing from Word

If your text does not adhere to these rules, Quickbase won't be able to copy your data into your app correctly.

Using quotes to import text that includes commas

You may want to import text that includes a comma. Remember that Quickbase recognizes a comma as a delimiter used to separate columns. Therefore, any text that includes a comma must be surrounded by quotation marks (") for Quickbase to import it correctly.  For example, if you want to import this description of the French language class you're offering, you need to enclose the phrase in quotes, as shown below:

"This course covers basic French vocabulary, conversation, and pronunciation."

When a quotation mark is the first character in a field you're importing, Quickbase assumes you want to import text that includes a comma. Quickbase looks for a closing quotation mark to determine the end of the field. If you forget to include the closing quotation mark, Quickbase ignores any delimiters you may have included, and will not import your text correctly.

For instance, imagine you want to import the text "English, French, Spanish" into one field, and "Spring semester" into another. If you forget to include closing quotation marks after the word Spanish, as shown below...

"English, French, Spanish, Spring semester

Quickbase assumes you want all of this text in one field. Therefore, be sure to always use a pair of quotes when importing text that includes commas.

Note: Quickbase requires you to use a pair of quotes ONLY when the quotation mark is the first character in a field you're importing. If you're importing text that includes a quotation mark somewhere in the middle, as shown in this example...

5' 4", 120 lbs

6' 3", 200 lbs

... Quickbase handles the import correctly.

Create an application by pasting text

To create an application by pasting text:
  1. Check and fix the formatting of your source file.

    The data you're importing must be in a format that's compatible with traditional database tables. Some spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel allow data anarchy that Quickbase won't tolerate. Read how to format your data for an easy import.

  2. Copy the text from your source file.

    In your source document, highlight the text that you want to copy, and select Edit > Copy. You can copy specific rows or columns from a spreadsheet program, or tables from a word-processing document. You can even copy text from a document, as long as values you want to place in separate fields are separated by a consistent character, like a tab or a comma, for example.

  3. Sign in to Quickbase, and access the Add a New Quickbase Application page.

  4. Go to the Import tab, and make sure the Copy/Paste radio button is selected.

  5. Click to place your cursor in the Copy and Paste text field, right-mouse click and select Paste (or press Ctrl + V).

  6. Click Next.

    Quickbase analyzes your data, and then displays the results.

  7. Check the results to ensure that the field types and labels for each field (column) are correct and that the data is properly aligned. To do so:

    • Confirm that the Field Labels - Row 1 row contains terms that you want to use as field names. If not, turn off the First Row is List of Field Names check box. If a label box is blank or incorrect, type a new name in the Field Label box.

    • If a field type isn't correct, select the appropriate type from the dropdown at the top of the column.

      Tip: If you're importing values that are also people who'll use your Quickbase application, import those values into a User type field. (Read more about user fields.) When you're importing into User fields, you can import text or—if you've got them—email addresses. When you import text into a User field, Quickbase creates placeholders that you can later convert to user values. If you import email addresses, Quickbase can immediately match a value with the Quickbase user who's registered with that email address. So, if you can, try importing email addresses instead of names. You'll save time later.

    • If you don't want to include a particular field in your new application, select the Do Not Import radio button above the column.

    • If the data isn't properly aligned (for instance, information shows up in the wrong fields), you must return to the source program and fix the problem there. Then try copying and pasting the data again.

  8. When you're done checking results, click Create.

  9. Tell Quickbase what you want to call your application and the records in it.

    Within the Application Name box, type in a title for you application. Then within the Items in this application are called box, type in the term that best describes the records in your table. If you do, Quickbase uses this term instead of the more general word "record." For example, if you're managing staff assignments you might type in tasks.

  10. When you're done, click OK.

    Quickbase displays your new application's Home page.

Importing blank values

You may not always have data to import into every field in a table. You can import a blank value into a field; just be sure to include the correct number of delimiters for your table to ensure the right values are imported into the right fields.

In the example below, we want to paste in data to be imported to an app that tracks business contacts. The app contains these fields: First Name, Last Name, DOB, Title, Company, and Telephone number.

However, we are actually missing some data; we don't know Larry Andrew's title. We can still import the data we have by ensuring the text we paste includes the correct number of delimiters, as shown below:


When we import the data shown below, Quickbase imports the values as follows: