A fairly common question among Sage ACT! users is how to export data out of their database. This could be because they need to share data with someone who doesn’t use ACT! (like a partnering business or print house), want to get data into another piece of software (e.g. export a list for e-mail marketing to ConstantContact), or perhaps they’ve outgrown ACT! and are moving to another system.
Whatever the reason, there are a number of ways to export data from ACT! and which method you choose will depend on what data you need (Contacts, Company, Notes, History, etc.) and what kind of format you want it in. I’ll start with the native export options and work my way towards some more technical methods and third party tools.
The Built-In ACT! Export Methods
Right within ACT!’s file menu, you can access the Export command. This built in tool will let you export data to either another ACT! database or to a text file. The wizard walks you through the process and you’ll be able to choose between exporting the current record, current lookup, or all records. Note that if you’re exporting to another ACT! database, you can export all data and choose which of Contacts, Companies, and Groups you want. If you choose a text file, you’ll be limited to a single choice of Contacts, Groups, or Companies and cannot export additional information like notes, history, and activities.
We often use this export when we want to merge data from one ACT! database to another and will do a lookup in the source database and then export the current lookup to our target database.
Exporting to Excel via List Views
The more recent versions of ACT! (ACT! 2008 and later, I believe) allow you to export the various List Views to Excel. Depending on what version you’re on, this means that Contacts, Companies, Groups, Activities (via the Task List), and Opportunities can be exported. This method will allow you to first do a lookup and then just click the “Export to Excel” button to pump your data out to an Excel formatted file. You can change what fields/columns get exported – what you see is what you’ll get, so click the Options menu (upper right) and then “Customize Columns” to choose what fields to display and in what order.
Additional Data from SQL
If you want to get more data out of ACT! than what the two previous methods will provide you with, you’ll either need to extract it from SQL using the SA or actreader SQL accounts using a SQL utility or even into Excel (by connecting SQL as a data source). This will allow you to extract essentially any data you’re after, but is not an easy task and will require some solid technical skills and a bit of SQL knowledge.
Third Party Tools
If the idea of bushwhacking your SQL database doesn’t sound like fun and your need justifies some investment, third party utilities are available to help make exporting easier and give you options beyond the native ACT! tools.
Exporter by JL Technical is awesome. It will work with any version of ACT! from 3 through to 2011 and can export to Excel, Access, text, or even ACT! 6 and SalesForce.com and it is lightening fast:
I also recommend Export IT (see AddOn Store link), I’ve used a number of their tools. Typically a little technical but flexible and capable.
You can find a list of data export tools at the ActAddon Store:
Please comment if you have questions about exporting ACT! data or want to share any tools / techniques you use!