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Weeding Out Duplicate Contacts in ACT! 2007

Finding pesky duplicates in your ACT! 2007 database is tricky but not impossible. Because having multiple records for the same person or company is common, ACT! enables you to check easily for duplicate records based on predefined criteria. You can then create a lookup of the duplicate records and delete them. You can also change the criteria used to find these duplicate records.

To eliminate duplicate contacts, follow these steps:

1. From any ACT! screen, choose Tools --> Scan for Duplicates.

By default, ACT! looks for duplicate contact records based on the company name, contact name, and phone number. If the contents of these three fields are identical for two or more contacts, ACT! views them as duplicates. You can now specify how ACT! checks for duplicate contact records in the Duplicate Checking dialog box.

2. In the Find Duplicate Contacts area, choose the three fields you want ACT! to use to search for duplicate contact data.

3. Click OK.

The Contact List opens, along with a dialog box informing you that duplicates were found, asking whether you would like to combine them. From this list, you can delete records, keep records, or combine duplicate records.

4. If you want to combine duplicates, click Yes to continue at the prompt.

The Copy/Move Contact Data window opens. This is the first of six windows that you go through when merging duplicate contacts. Merging duplicates is a slow, grueling task; you have to merge your duplicates on a pair-by-pair basis. After contacts are merged together, there is no unmerge function. Proceed with caution!

As you progress through the wizard, you perform the following six tasks:

Select a set of duplicates.

Decide if you want to copy the information from the first contact record to the second contact record — or vice versa.

Choose a source and a contact. Depending on your choice, one of the contacts becomes the source, and the other one is the target. By default, the new, merged contact contains all the target information. If you want to retain any source field information, click in the field and then click the Copy button.

Choose whether you want to move additional information from the source to the target or have the information remain duplicated on both records.

Select the additional elements that you want to merge together: notes, histories, activities, opportunities, secondary contacts and documents. If the source contact has three notes and the target has four different notes, the final contact ends up with seven notes.

Indicate whether to keep or delete the source record. For your convenience, ACT! recaps the information to make your decision easier. If you decide to delete the source record, click Yes on the scary warning that confirms that you might be losing information.

5. Click Finish.

Your two duplicate records merge into one.

You can't undelete deleted records or contact information. If you inadvertently delete important information, immediately go to your backup file and restore your information.

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