How to avoid duplicates when importing data into FileMakerPro 10

I want to import data into FileMaker Pro 10.
Some of the data may already have matching records.
Some may have partial matches (names but no addresses).
Some will have no match.
How do I get all of the data in without duplicating existing records.
Should I do 3 seperate imports using each of the radio buttons ?
  •  add new records from the source file
  •  update records with information from the source file
  •  update matching records with information from the source file  
Or will one of these buttons take care of all of the records?
maryj152Asked:
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Will LovingPresident, Dedication Technologies, Inc.Commented:
You'll most likely want to use the first and third options but not the second which is rarely used and simply overwrites the existing set of records with whatever you're importing and without the benefit of matching.

In order to use the import matching records you have to specify the matching fields but the match only happens against records that are already in FileMaker. You can't do a single import and have it merge a duplicate record that came in during the same import. You can do a one import and then specific "Update Matching" specifying both First and Last name fields at matching and the incoming records will overwrite the existing one if a match exists. The problem with this is that 1) it overwrites, and 2) if you have multiple John Smiths (different individuals at different addresses) then they will be treated as one person because you're only matching first and last.

The way this is normally handled is to import ALL the records into FM and then use one or more self-Join relationships to find and remove the duplicate records. The self-join relationships mean that a table is joined to itself which allows you to identify duplicate records. You'd also need to determine which record you'd like to keep based whether certain data like an address exists. Depending on the number of records and the variation in the data the deletes may best be done manually or in bulks...it just depends on what you're working with.

When I do this, I create a Self-Join relationship based on a criteria likely to be unique such as email or phone number. After you deal with those duplicates you can edit the join to use criteria less likely to be unique such as address and then finally First + Last.

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maryj152Author Commented:
Thank you. I may have more questions when I begin to make the move.
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