Ape Software can import your data for you. Importing is a manual process and
for everyone so send us a copy of your current data and we'll provide an estimate.
Your Steps in the Import Process
There are really only two steps: (a) before you decide to do
business with us, provide a copy of your data so we can give you an import estimate
and (b) after you've chosen to use our software, give us another copy of your data when you're ready for us to begin the import. We'll
help you through each of the steps of deployment and configuration and answer your questions throughout the
Otherwise, the remainder of this page is for those who want to learn more about the process.
STEP 1: Send Us Your Data for Estimate
If you need help giving us a copy of your data, give us a call and we'll be
able to help via screen share. Otherwise, please refer to the following
- Spreadsheets are Best: Spreadsheets are the easiest and fastest
formats to import even if
they need to be exported from an existing program.
- Best Spreadsheet Format: The best format for a good
spreadsheet is strictly columns and rows without any additional formatting.
The first row should have unique column names. Each column will only have
data in it that relates to that column (e.g., date columns should have nothing
- Using SQL Server?: If your current database is on a SQL
Server, send us a backup of that database.
- Other Formats: We can import from other formats too so,
if you don't have spreadsheets, send us what you have.
- Entire Database: For an accurate quote, be sure to send
us your entire database rather than just a sample. It's not the number
records as much as the uniformity of the data throughout the database that
determines the amount of work required for an import.
- How to Send: After you zip your data, if the compressed
file is larger than 20 MB, please upload it to a common file server (e.g.,
Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.) and send us a download link.
Otherwise, if it is a small file, feel free to email it to us.
STEP 2: Send Us Your Live Data for Import
For import project estimated to last 2 hours or less, send us your data anytime
and we'll get it back to you in 2-3 business days. For import projects estimated to last more than 2 hours, we prefer to follow this
- Schedule: Please schedule with us an available time for importing your data. Sometimes
we're importing another database that we need to complete before
moving to the next import project.
- Send Data: Send us your LIVE data the same way you sent
us your data for estimating (see step 1 above).
- One Week: Give us a calendar week to import your data.
We often import data on the weekends to avoid distractions but, depending on
support demands, we may be able to perform the import faster.
- No Data Entry: Remember that while we have your LIVE
data, any additional data entry you perform in your database will not be
included in the data we import for you. Therefore, please refrain from changing
your existing database.
- Download Imported Data: When your imported database is ready,
we will upload it to a Dropbox file server and send you a download link along with a
link to our help
file for deploying imported databases with further instructions.
- Deployment and Configuration: If you need help with deploying
your database, installing software, or configuration, we can assist via screen share.
If you need a different schedule, please let us know as soon as possible.
Our Steps in the Import Process
This section is a response to the common question of, "Can't you just click
a button and import it?".
Unlike generic Office programs (e.g., Word or Excel), database management
software requires a much more specific format. Additionally, there are no
standard file format conventions that can help us predict and write import
routines. Therefore, importing is a manual process.
APE STEP 1: Convert to Usable Intermediate Format
The first thing we'll do is convert your data to a usable
intermediate format like an MS Access database file. The
two largest time-takers in this phase are:
- Converting Current File Format: If the current format for
database is contemporary (e.g., spreadsheet or Access 2003 or higher),
the initial conversion is usually easy. But if your data is in an old format
that modern software no longer recognizes
(e.g., dBase, Btrieve, Xtrieve, FoxPro, etc.)
or is in a one-file-per-record system, we may need to use or write special software,
drivers, and steps to get the data into an intermediate format we can manipulate.
- Fixing Incorrect Field Data Types: The problem fields are
usually non-string types like date, number, and Boolean. If your
data has these types of fields with types of data in them that don't match the
field types, we will manually correct, move,
or remove inconsistent data before importing. For example, if your Last Calibration
field has text information in it like “no cal required” or “see Mike
we will need to manually move that information to the status field (for “no cal
required”) or the note field (for “see Mike . . .”).
APE STEP 2: Table and Field Mapping
If a database is provided for import (instead of a spreadsheet) and in the
absence of detailed field and table level import instructions, we must perform the
following investigative steps:
- ID Tables with Useful Data: We must open and evaluate the
contents of each table to determine if
those tables (a) have data to include in the import, (b)
are empty, (c) contain old program settings, (d)
unused data, etc.
- ID Links Between Tables: Depending on the organizational
mind of the person who developed your current
software, this can be very easy or extremely complex.
- Record Assumptions: The larger the size of an import project,
the more important it is for us to record and communicate our assumptions
regarding what we believe you wish us to accomplish. This step tends to
alleviate future miscommunications.
APE STEP 3: Cleaning
Depending on the condition of your data, no matter the
current file format, there
are several common issues that can add lots of time to the import process.
- Unique Equipment IDs: CC requires a unique identifier (e.g.,
Equipment ID or Asset #) for each Equipment record. When duplicates are
present, we manually identify and change those duplicated IDs before import
(usually with an alpha suffix).
- Moving Data to Proper Fields: We will often identify and correct
issues like Department names in People fields and vice versa or the equipment status
(e.g., active, lost, at calibration lab, or checked out to Larry) in Department,
Description, Date, or other fields.
- Delimiting Combined Fields: Sometimes old database programs
have a limited number of fields so users make the best of this situation
by combining multiple fields of data into a single field. For example, we
often see single fields, like the Model Number, have a combination like Serial Number,
Description, Size, Custodian (who has it), etc. This is one of the more manual
processes of identifying and moving data within a single field to the proper
- Extrapolating Equipment from Calibration Records: When
Equipment records do not exist because the only records recorded were
Calibration Histories, we must identify and remove (or group) duplicate
Equipment data before we can create a single record for each Equipment.
- Converting Frequencies: There are several different ways
and formats to keep track of the Frequency (cycles) between calibrations.
Our job here
is to convert whatever method your old program uses to the system that Ape Software
uses. Fortunately we have a few decades of experience importing from other
database formats so we’ve made our software versatile enough to adapt to just about
- Create Linking Tables: Since our database uses a normalized
format (i.e., modern, efficient, more accurate & safer), we separate different types
of data into different tables. For example, your old software may have the
words for the various Departments and Users in a single table. We separate
this information out into a Department and Person table that links back to the main
Equipment table. This way, you only need to spell a person’s name once and
in one place. Data entry errors like Bob S., Bob Small, B.S., and Robert S.
representing the same person) are greatly lessened so you have much more accurate
data entry, recall, reporting, and querying of your data.
- Importing Related Notes: Sometimes the data we import includes
a related table of information, like Notes. In this case, the above process
is repeated for each new table although these linking tables are usually less complex.
- Importing Related Calibration Events: We believe the best
practice for most calibration histories is to not include those records in the
import since the fields of
data collected by different programs varies widely enough to cause at least some
In this situation, we do encourage users to maintain their old database in a read-only
state for future research and auditing.
APE STEP 4: Actual Import
This is the easy part! After we’ve cleaned the data (above), copying your
equipment data over into the new format takes just a few moments. It's
file conversion and data cleaning before the import that takes up most
of our time.
APE STEP 5: Configuration
After we've imported your data, we implement whatever database configurations
required such as: (a) entering your product key, (b)
renaming custom fields, and (c) calculating future due dates
based on the recently imported data.