Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

Export vs. ImportThe process of moving data or settings used in one program to another. For example, a user may import their e-mail address book into the latest version of Microsoft Outlook.

Difference between export and import?

As seen in the picture on this page, when you are exporting, you are taking information from a program and putting it into a file. For example, you may export a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to a CSV file.

When you import, you are bringing in information from a file into a program. For example, you could import a CSV file you downloaded from the Internet into an Excel spreadsheet.

Where is the import option?

If the import option is available, it is typically available on the File menu section of the program or the same are you would find Save or the Save As option.

Note: Not all programs have an Import option, but if the program opens different file formats you may be able to save the file as a different format that is compatible with your program you're trying to use to import data.

Problems that may arise when importing data

For a program to successfully import data, it needs to understand the data that is being imported. If the program does not understand the data, it is corrupt, or improperly formatted some or all of the data will not be imported correctly or may not be imported at all.

If you encounter problems with importing data, try exporting the data as a different format. In the case of data like that contained in a spreadsheet, use a different delimiter that tells the program how to separate the data when importing.

Export, Merge, Software terms