Importing from Excel

This topic describes how to import data into ALM Octane from a Microsoft Excel file.


The import function is used for migrating information data from one instance of ALM Octane to another.

The following is a common flow for importing entities from an Excel file:

  1. Prepare an Excel file that complies with the required format. For details, see Prepare the import file.

  2. Add values for new entities or for existing entities that you want to update. For details, see Field values.

  3. Begin the import. During the import ALM Octane performs several validations. For details, see Import the file.

  4. Fix any errors. Failed validation steps do not cancel the import. All valid records are imported while problematic records are added to a new Excel file which you can re-import after you fix the issues. For details, see Validations.

  5. Fix the problematic issues and re-import the Excel file.

Note: The import function is not intended for migrating other systems into ALM Octane. OpenText offers a variety of migration tools. For details, contact OpenText support.

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Prepare the import file

To import entities, you prepare an Excel (.xls or .xlsx) file with a list of the items to import, in a specific format. For details, see Prepare the import file.

You can import the following entities: Requirements, Backlog items, Defects, Tasks, Tests, and Test suites. Calculated fields and certain system fields cannot be imported, such as Testing tool type, Last runs, Estimated hours, and Code coverage.

You can export items from ALM Octane and re-import them to the same workspace with modifications, or import them to another workspace. For details, see Export data.

Tip: To help you prepare an Excel file with the formatting and fields required for import, download a template file. Click Settings and select the appropriate import action. In the Import dialog box, click View import file example.

When updating an existing item, add the ALM Octane ID number in the unique_id column, prefixed by '@. For example: '@9100. Only enter values for the fields that you want to change. All other fields will remain unchanged.

If you exported items to the file from another tool, you must update the Excel file according to the specifications described below.

To prepare a new import file:

  1. In an Excel file, create a separate sheet for each item type you want to import. Name the sheets with one of the following names: User stories, Quality stories, Defects, Manual tests, or Test suites. Alternatively, you can export items of the same item type that you want to import, edit, and re-import the file. For details, see Export data.

  2. In Row 1 of the sheet, type the names of the fields for which you want to enter values. You must use the fields' logical names, not the field labels. You can list both system and user-defined fields. For lists of supported and required fields for each item type, see Fields for import files.

    You can also include any REST API-editable field. For details, ask your system admin.

For entity-specific guidelines, see Specific item type guidelines.

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Field values

On separate rows in the spreadsheet, enter field values for each item you want to import. For possible field values, see Fields for import files.

When entering item values, consider the following:

Area Details
Required fields Each entity has required fields, as determined in the workspace configuration. If you do not enter values for all the required fields of an item, the items are imported in draft status.
Memo fields Memo fields do not preserve their source formatting when they are imported.
Multiple values

In fields that support multiple values, separate the values with a comma or any other character defined by your admin.


  • Before entering multiple values, check the value delimiter set in ALM Octane. Your admin can change the value delimiter by editing the EXPORT_IMPORT_MULTIVALUE_DELIMITER parameter. Changing the delimiter affects all files that are imported or exported for the purpose of import. For details, see Configuration parameters.
  • Importing field values that contain commas or any other characters defined as a value delimiter is not supported.
Localization In fields that use system lists, use the localized list values according to your client's language.
Date fields

The following date syntaxes are supported:

  • Time with offset: "2015-05-12T10:15:30+01:00"
  • Time with zone ID: "2015-05-12T10:15:30Z"
  • Time with offset and zone ID: "2015-05-12T10:15:30+01:00[Europe/Paris]";

Tip: Using the user_tags field, add a tag to each imported item that will allow you to identify and filter on imported items in ALM Octane.

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Specific item type guidelines

Note the following guidelines pertaining to the different item types.

Item type Guideline
Backlog items

When importing backlog items, ALM Octane uses both the Epic and Feature fields to determine where the backlog item is created. For example, if you want to place a user story under a feature which is under an epic but you do not specify the epic, a new feature is created under the Backlog root.

By default, you can import up to 1000 backlog items from a single file. If you have more than 1000 items, use separate files. Site admins can change this limit by modifying the IMPORT_WORK_ITEMS_FUSE parameter. For details, see Configuration parameters.


You can import tasks both from the general Settings menu, and from the Tasks grid of a backlog item.

  • When importing from the Settings menu, tasks are imported to the backlog items that you specify in the spreadsheet.
  • When importing from the Tasks grid, all the tasks in the spreadsheet are imported to the current story or defect.
Manual tests

In the rows following a manual test, define steps for the test. For details, see Importing from Excel.

A manual test row should only contain values in the manual test fields. The test step rows should contain values only in the test step fields.

Application modules: If an application module's name includes a forward or backslash, in the import file, double the slashes. For example, if the application module's name is app/1, specify it in the file as app//1.

Note: You cannot specify in the import file application modules beginning or ending with a slash.

Test suites

In the rows following a test suite, list the tests that are part of the suite. See examples in the template file.

Refer to the tests using their unique_id in the manual tests sheet, or their ID in ALM Octane. See the tables below for details.

The test suite row should contain values only in the test suite fields. The test rows should contain values only in the test fields.


There are several guidelines that are specific for importing Requirement entities. For details, see Import requirements from Excel.

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Custom lookup lists

In fields that use custom lookup lists, in each of the field's values you need to specify the lookup list that the field uses. For example, the Test Type field in your workspace may be configured to use a custom list with different values than the default list.

In each cell that uses a custom lookup list, use the following syntax: listName/listValue

  • listName: The name of the custom lookup list.
  • listValue: A valid value in the custom lookup list.


  • You can use either a forward slash or backslash in the syntax above.
  • If the list name or list value themselves contain a slash or backslash, type a double character: // or \\. This instructs ALM Octane to import the character literally. Example: list//Name/listValue
  • When specifying an alternative system list, listName must be the English-language name of the list, even if your space is set to another language. listValue should contain a value in your space's language.

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Import the file

Follow this procedure to import an Excel file to ALM Octane.

Tip: You can import tasks to a particular backlog item directly from the item's Tasks tab. For details, see Break items into tasks.

To import a file:

  1. Expand the Settings menu. Under the Import section, select a type, such as Backlog Items, Tests, or Tasks.
  2. Click Browse and navigate to the folder with the Excel file. Select the file and click Open.

  3. Click Import. ALM Octane performs a validation of the file before importing its data.

  4. If there were no errors, the import process adds the items to the relevant module and location.

  5. If there were errors, click the See report for details on issues link to open a list of the errors and warnings.

    • For phase 1 validation errors, scroll to the bottom of the list and click Export issues to Excel. For details, see Validations.

    • For phase 2 validation errors, scroll to the bottom of the list and click Download to generate a report of only those entities that failed to be imported.

  6. If there were errors, fix them and re-import the Excel file.

Note: Items that you imported without values in required fields are created in ALM Octane as drafts. After the import, filter the relevant grid based on the Is Draft field and fill in values for all the required fields. To prevent the creation of draft entities, instruct your admin to disable the Allow draft entity creation permission in the General System Actions section. For details, see Permissions.

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When you click Import, several validations are performed on the imported Excel file.

Available in versions: 24.1 and later

Content and Business rule validation

Phase Validation What is shown
1 Correctness of field, type, and column names, and the existence of all required columns. A downloadable list of the phase 1 errors and warnings.

Ability to successfully add and update entities, without being blocked by an existing business rule.

Note: Phase 2 validations will only begin when there are no errors in phase 1.

A downloadable list of only the failed items.

The entities for which there were no issues are uploaded. A generated Excel contains only the problematic entities. After you fix the errors, you can re-import the Excel to import the previously failed entities.

Duplicate validation

Another type of validation is a check for duplications in Backlog and Test items. If you already have an item with the same name and in the same tree location as an item you are importing, a warning is issued about this duplication. A duplication warning may also be issued if there was a network outage during the import process.

You can either cancel the import and rename the duplicate items in Excel before importing, or continue with the import, creating two items with the same name in ALM Octane.

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