How to: Import Participants

How to: Import Participants

Importing participant data in bulk is a great way to migrate existing participant information from an external source into Ripple. To import data, go to the Site Admin tab (green) and then find the Import tool (red). Only Site Administrators and Site Managers have access to the Import and Export tools.


Best Practices for Importing Data:

  • Before importing, check your formatting of dates and case-sensitive custom variables. You can copy and paste allowable formats from the Data Dictionary into your template.
  • Before your first large import, do a test with one or two participants to make sure your data format is correct.

  • For large import needs, break it up into separate batches.

  • If you’re importing into multiple studies, do a separate import for each study.

To import participants you will need to:

1. Decide whether you will upload global data, study-specific data, or both. Use the dropdown to select which type of Template and Data Dictionary you need. You can refer to this article to choose what kind of data to upload.


2. Download the Data Dictionary file. Select the type of global or study-specific file you are uploading from the pulldown window and then click on “Dictionary”. Use this article for an overview about understanding and using your Data Dictionary.


3. Download and fill in the pre-formatted Template. Click on “Template” to download the file. You will use this file to upload your participants data into the Ripple. Use one row for each participant and make sure that the content of each cell is in line with the specifications provided in the Data Dictionary file. You can copy and paste allowed responses from the Data Dictionary into your template to make sure you're using the correct format.

If there is information that you want to import that is not listed in the Template columns or Data Dictionary, then you will need to go back and create a new custom variable. Once you've created the new custom variable, download a new Template and Data Dictionary for your import. 


On your template, delete the columns that you will not be uploading data into. Make sure you always keep the required variables: Firstname, Lastname, and GlobalID or birthday, and ImportType. You do not need to put the ImportType in every row, it only needs to be in the row of the first participant’s data.



4. Use the pulldown menu to tell Ripple which study’s or Global data you are uploading.


5. If needed, update your time zone. If you are uploading data for a remote team, select the time zone for the coordinating site. The time zone you choose may affect date and time variables, as well as events for study-specific uploads.


6. Tell Ripple what should be done with existing participants. If you are uploading new participants who are not already in Ripple, choose “Update All Information” from the dropdown.

  • Update All Information: Creates new participants and updates information of existing participants if applicable.
  • Do Not Update Any Contact Information: Creates new participants and updates the information of existing participants (if applicable), but does not update any existing participant contact information.
  • Do Not Update Any Existing Participants: Creates new participants with their information.


7. Select and upload the Template file. Click the "Choose File" button and find your file. Your file will need to be formatted as an .xlsx file. 


8. Wait for Ripple to complete a series of tests and make edits to your Template as needed. Ripple will complete a series of tests. If the system encounters any errors due to incorrect formatting or invalid responses, Ripple will give you a statement regarding the error and will not import the data. If Ripple finds an error, you will need to go back into your template, fix the error, then re-upload the template.

9. Import your data. Once the database is error free, Ripple will tell you that the import can proceed and the Import button will be activated. After clicking on the Import button, your data should be uploaded. You can check the Registry to see if your participants were imported.


The import may take a few minutes after clicking on Import. The import will continue in the background even if you close Ripple. In cases of extremely large files (thousands of participants), feel free to start the process and then continue doing your work.

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