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How do I update existing issues using the CSV importer for JIRA OnDemand

The Importing Data from CSV - Atlassian OnDemand Documentation reads:

Updating existing issues

From version 4.3 of JIRA Importers plugin you can update existing issues. Your CSV file needs to contain a column that during the import wizard is mapped to Issue Key. If an issue exists for a given key it will be updated.

I have tried this and there is no Issue Key to map to.

3 answers

1 accepted

6 votes
Answer accepted

I have have found a workaround. Under JIRA Administration > System. Under IMPORT & EXPORT > External System Import select Import from Comma-separated Values (CSV). This wizard includes the 'Issue Key' in the field selection dropdown.

Thanx - Very helpful input! This should be implemented in the official Atlassian support documentation

Like # people like this

Hi, Thanks! Been looking everywhere for a resolution to this. My problem was using the "Import Issues from CSV" option from the issues drop down, this does not have the Issue Key field as an option. Didn't bank on there being different import options from different menus! Thanks for the workaround!

Note that CSV import for users in Issues > Import Issues from CSV is limited to creating issues as per its respective documentation in is for the administrator as you can see the page location in the page tree on left-side. 

Like Sowbarnika M likes this

Hi Thanks for the information. The documentation says updating of the existing issues from JIRA version 4.3 and above. Would like to know is there any difference for the cloud versions of Jira.

Like # people like this

Hi, I am actually using the steps above BUT by mapping the Issue Key and Summary I am getting an error that the issue already exists! it's not updating

Like Lucy_Buecking likes this

I am using the External System Import

Like Lucy_Buecking likes this

I see the same thing as Shalvika Sood Anyone know why this is happening?  Did the update functionality get deprecated?  I am using v6.2.6#6264-sha1:ee76422

Like # people like this

+1 for this thread, was able to use external system export to update issues. I was trying to add a custom field value, selected "Issue Key", my custom field and checked the box for "Map these fields to Jira" then it did make me select "Summary" in the drop down but I didn't select the box to the right. It seemed to work and do what I needed it to though! 

+1. Successfully Update existing issue if I upload with "issueKey" field in csv from "JIRA Administration > System. Under IMPORT & EXPORT > External System Import".


Just wanted to know, why this is not available from "Create > Import issues"?

0 votes

Eh? Look at one of the issues you want to update. The issue key is now on the screen in front of you next to the summary and it's in the URL as well. The bit that says project-number (JRA-123 or whatever)

Nic, I have identified the keys of the issues I want to update and they are listed in the CSV file but there is no option to map to them in the import wizard. There is no JIRA field for Issue Key.

Hi, did you ever get to the bottom of this? I'm having the same problem!

He was looking at the user importer which only allows for "create" and hence doesn't need issue keys He's solved it by using the Jira Importer which supports updates when given an existing issue key

Oh, that was badly written. By "user importer" and "Jira importer", I mean there are now two CSV importers available. The user importer is available to normal users, but the Jira importer is for admins only.

Ah, I made the same mistake. I've found it, thanks!

@Robert Jacobs2  Where have you found 'admin' importer? Can you please specify it step by step? Having problems with it.. 


thank you!

  • to access admin importer

    Log in to JIRA as a user with the JIRA Administrators global permission.
    Select Administration > System > Import & Export > External System Import.

@Eugene Yasyuchenko as @vitaliy zapolskyy pointed out the location of the Admin External Import. Just remember if you are updating that the importer requires a summary field however the summary does not need to be mapped (leave it unchecked). As long as the issue key exists, it will update those tickets. 


I'm getting below information while i try to update the existing issues in Jira with new values.

"while updating issues have been skipped because they already exist in destination projects."


Please let me know why i get this error. I'm Jira administrator. Below are the steps i follow:

In Jira settings --> System --> Import and Export --> External System Import --> 

1. I get Jira Import wizard

2. I selected CSV

3. I got new page as CSV file import. Here i have File import and i uploaded the CSV file which i prepared. (Note issue key and all details are available. My aim is to change the Story points in each issues to a new value in Jira using this bulk option)

4. I map in the next page "Fields" only the Issue key and Story points.

Output is what is mentioned in the first line.

Request to guide me in steps (micro level) so that it can benefit everyone.

Thanks in advance

Like # people like this

Anybody knows a way to update specifically the issue key using csv? I'm using external import for trello (so comments and a bunch of info gets imported), but issue key is not kept the same as trello, which is bad.
I've tried updating the issue key, using issue id, but no luck.

Have spent hours trying to find out how to update an existing issuekey, tried several ways without getting expected results. Such a common scenario, yet no easy solution found.

Like Lazhar Sellami likes this

update existing issues.pngHello, 

I have recently tried to update existing issues from a Jira file using the system Import external system.  The debug log says it didn't import because the issue already existing.   I do have a  issuekey, summary columns in my csv with the number of the existing Jira issue.  Any ideas how to solve?

I have the exact same problem. If anyone has any recommendations here on how to fix this that would be great!

Like VP likes this

I have the same problem, 

Like VP likes this

you need to map import file issue key to issue key .. when you do you will see:
You have selected Issue Key mapping. Please note that importer will update existing issues matching the Issue Key from the CSV file.

Like VP likes this

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