The best way to prevent duplicated data is part user diligence, and part software settings. Let’s start with the user end.
First things first—you get off the phone with someone you believe you have never spoken to before and you want to add them to your ACT! database. What do you do? First, you search for them. As a rule of thumb, we encourage you to search their last name and then the company name. If you have a sneaking suspicion you may have this contact in your database already, you could also try searching for the email address. If none of these three searches pulls up your contact, you know you are probably dealing with a brand new one. The next step is to go ahead and enter your new contact.
Since no one is perfect, we also recommend you have settings in place that will catch you if you try to enter in a duplicate contact. This is especially useful for when multiple users are sharing a database. Betty may be sure that she is entering a new contact and skips doing a preliminary search, however Bob just put the new contact in yesterday. When Betty enters in the “new” contact, the database will catch her mistake with a pop-up that says “The record you are trying to create is a duplicate. Are you sure you want to continue?”
In order for your database to automatically scan for duplicates upon entering a new contact, you must have the administrator of your database adjust your settings. By going to Tools>Preferences>Admin, and clicking the button at the bottom of the box that says “duplicate checking,” your admin can have your database check to make sure you aren’t imputing a contact already in the database. You can select which fields you would like the database to compare to find matches. We have our production database set up to check for contact matches on the company field first, and then on the contact field.
These are just some of the best ways to prevent your database from filling up with duplicate entries. However if you do have duplicates, or even worse, lots of duplicates, we would be happy to assist you in cleaning up your database. For more info, call the KSC office at 847-520-0860.
How do you keep your database in order? Do you have a maintenance tip of your own?