Whether you are a single database user, or sharing your database amongst several people in your organization, removing duplicates in your database is a necessary maintenance task. Finding duplicates can be a bit tricky, and is sometimes both art and science. This week I’ll show you how to enable, and alter duplicate checking in your database.
Enabling Duplicate Checking
Over time, it is likely that your database will accumulate some duplicate entries due to the fact that Sage ACT! may not know that Rob, Bob, and Robert Smith are all really the same person. To configure the criteria by which Sage ACT! Detects duplicates:
1. On the Tools menu, click Preferences.
2. On the Admin tab, click Duplicate Checking.
3. From the Record type list, select a record type to check. You can have independent duplicate checking settings for each major record type: Contact, Group, or Company.
4. To configure Contact record duplicate match settings, under Duplicate Match Settings, do the following:
From the Match Contact records on list, select the primary field for matching duplicates. This field is matched first when importing data, adding new records, and so on.
Optionally, select up to two additional fields to match: In the Then on lists, select a second and third field to check.
If you match only on the contact name, the result may show Rob Smith at AT&T in New York as a duplicate to Rob Smith at General Electric in Cleveland. You can eliminate this by matching on name, company, and city. This is especially useful when importing or adding groups and companies since they can have duplicate names.
5. To check other record types, select another type of record from the Record type list, and select duplicate checking preferences.
6. When you have finished configuring settings, click OK.
To run duplicate checking with your new settings:
1. Open the Contacts view.
2. Click Tools > Scan for Duplicates.
3. In the Scan for Duplicate Contacts window, you may update your duplicate settings on the fly, or run the check with your preferred settings. In some cases, you may not locate duplicates by attempting to match on three fields, for example because all three have to be exactly the same for a duplicate to be found. If on the other hand, you suspect there are duplicate e-mail addresses, you may opt to only scan for duplicates on that field.
If duplicates are found, you may manually clean them up, or if it is imperative that notes, history, and other details are merged, you may use the Copy/Move Contact Data wizard to combine data. That will be the subject of next week’s tip!