Import Data

Ninox supports the import of CSV files as well as Bento templates.

  • Section 1: CSV File Import
  • Section 2: Bento Template Import

CSV File Import

A CSV file is a simple text file where each line represents one row and the columns are separated by comma, semicolon or another character in each line. The most frequent and popular spreadsheet programs and databases allow to create that kind of file.

You can either import data into an already existing table or create a new one from that data. If you choose to import into an existing one, you can freely assign which column of the CSV file goes to which column of your table definition. Ninox tries its best to make an automatic match by comparing column names – but you can modify that manually.

You can start the import process in two different ways:

  • Open with Ninox: Open the file you want to import inside another app (e.g. Mail) with Ninox. If Ninox hasn’t been started or no database has been opened, the firs thing Ninox does is ask you into which database to import. Then the import assistant opens.
  • Import from Dropbox: Use the tab ‘Import data’ on the Database homepage (administration mode must be activated). Here you can import data from your Dropbox assuming the Dropbox app is installed on your device (if not, you will be prompted to install it).

Hint: If you want to import higher data volumes (10,000 rows and more), we recommend using Dropbox. Some apps have difficulties with bigger CSV files and will cancel the process leaving you without the ‘Open with Ninox’ operation.

The Import assistant

a) Choose the character set.

b) Define whether the first line of the CSV file contains column headers / labels. Ninox will try to relate the labels it finds to the correct columns automatically. You still can change the assignments manually, see below.

c) Define the separating character used in the CSV file (e.g. comma).

d) Select how to quote text.

e) Select from different number formats.

f) Choose the table you want to import the data into.

g) You can choose, if

  • all data will be imported,
  • only new data records will be added (see Duplicates and keys below),
  • only existing data records will be updated.

h) If a key field can’t be assigned unambigously, Ninox gives you two options (see Duplicates and keys):

  • ignore those data records,
  • update all found data records.

a) All columns found in the CSV file are listed and can be assigned to one data field of the selected table.

b) Provided that Ninox finds corresponding field names / column headers, the data fields are related automatically. You can change these assignments using drag & drop: drag a data field away from the assignment to remove it.

c) Usually the data from the CSV file will be transfered to the data fields (update all). However, you can determine that a field is completed only, if it doesn’t have any data (update only empty fields). if you define a field as key, Ninox will compare the table data with the CSV file and update those records where the key fields correspond (see Duplicates and keys below).

d) Lists all fields of the selected table that has not been assigned yet..

e) Drag a data field from a list to an empty place holder to assign this field to the corresponding column of the CSV file.

f) Prepares the import and shows a preview of the results. It requires your confirmation to put into effect those modifications.

Import preview

Before the import process is put into effect, Ninox shows you a preview of the results.

a) This previews the data changes.

b) Navigate page by page through the import preview.

c) The table shows the planned modifications. The first column indicates, whether a data record is created (new) or an existing one is updated (record ID). Values that are going to be updated are shown blue, those that stay the same are black.

d) Confirm the import.

Duplicates and keys

By default, Ninox will create a new record for each line of the CSV file. Sometimes it can make sense, though, to update existing records.

In that case, you must define a key field, so that Ninox can detect which records are going to be updated. Select ‘Key’ for this field instead of ‘Update all’. Key fields must be unique, that is, there must not be two data records in the table / CSV file where this field has the same value. It is possible to define more than one key field to assure unambiguity (e.g. ‘first name’ and ‘last name’ of one person).

If a key is defined, Ninox searches for each record in the CSV file for the corresponding record in the table where the keys match. Then the other fields of the matching records are updated.

If no corresponding data record can be found, Ninox creates a new one.

Bento Template Import

In order to migrate your data from Bento to Ninox, you’ll need the BentoToNinox converter.

You can download it for free from the following link:


Step 1: Export a Bento Library as a Bento Template

  • Start Bento
  • Choose a library
  • Click on File => Export…
  • Choose “Template”
  • Check any item in the list “Include these related libraries”
  • Also, check the “Include records in template” option
  • Click on “Next” to save everything in a “.bentoTemplate” file

Step 2: Convert the Bento Template to a Ninox Archive

  • Start
  • Choose the “.bentoTemplate” file
  • A “.ninox” file will be created in the same directory

Step 3: Import the Ninox Archive

  • Double-click on the “.ninox” file to import it into Ninox
  • If you want to import it on your iPad:
    • Send the file by email to your own account
    • Open Mail on your iPad
    • Select the mail
    • Tap on the file
    • Tap on “Open in Ninox”


BentoToNinox will migrate you data with an best-effort approach.

It supports tables (libraries), fields, table relations (related data) as well as media files.

However, some things won’t be migrated:

  • Adress Book
  • Collections / smart collections: Make use of Ninox’ table view features to recreate your collections.
  • Form layouts: Due to Ninox’ different approach to forms, layout information cannot be migrated. Ninox will generate automatic layouts but you may have to rework these.
  • Some field otpions like number format: You can easily fix that within Ninox afterwards.
  • Calculations: You’d need to recreate calculated fields in Ninox
  • Contact list fields: Address, Phone Number, Email Address, URL, IM Account

If you experience any problem with conversion of your data,

please contact us: