Exporting to a CSV is almost always the wrong thing

In general, when somebody asks to download their TRC data as a CSV, it’s often the wrong thing.  Once you’ve exported to a CSV, you lose out on the benefits of TRC, including our mobile canvassing apps.  It also causes problems like a) how do you keep the downloaded CSV in current with changes; b) how do ensure data collected from that CSV gets uploaded back to your account? And usually there’s a better way to accomplish their scenario…

Exporting as a CSV is almost always the wrong thing. Here’s what you should do instead…


What do you want to do? Why exporting a CSV is the wrong thing here: What should you do instead!
Pull into excel to do some filtering / advanced targeting See above. Use the Filter plugin. See Targetting for more details.
Get a report on how canvassers are doing so far This is cumbersome to do in a CSV. Use the Audit reporting plugin. This provides different views all linked together along with mapping visualizations.
Pull into excel/access to merge it with other data Doing the data merge can be difficult, especially when you have a large data set. Upload the other data with the Data Uploader plugin and let TRC merge it for you. TRC can a) handle multi-million row merges,  b) continually refresh if any of the inputs refresh, and c) pull your other data sources from Dropbox.
Print a walklist CSVs exports don’t have a good page-layout for walklists and may have too many extra columns. Use the existing print feature that provides a PDF – but don’t forget to upload your results!
Integrate results back with some other system CSV swapping is a slow, clunky, and manual process. Use TRC’s automatic integration for services like NationBuilder, Salesforce, or GOP DataCenter.  – which can send up results near instantly with no manual intervention. Contact us for details.
Create a snail mail list You’d still need to de-dup multiple names in an address. Use TRC’s generate mail export feature, which will create a download that’s already de-duped by address.
Share with other people Once you give somebody a hard file, how do you revoke permission or ensure they don’t misuse or even re-sell it? Use TRC’s instant sharing feature. This provides a full security and auditing model with revocation ability.

That said, if you really have a case that you need to download as a CSV, let us know!

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