NetSuite is essentially a massive database. It holds all the information of your business in an organized, user-friendly format. But how does that data get into your NetSuite instance, how do you edit it, and how do you share it or remove it? Thankfully, NetSuite provides several key data management tools that assist users with all these tasks. Let’s get a quick overview of each of these tools and the basics of how they work.

CSV Files

We’ll start with CSV files. CSV imports allow you to bring data into NetSuite, and CSV exports allow you to send data out of NetSuite.

CSV Imports

If any of your business data is living in other applications and needs to move to NetSuite, a CSV import is probably your best bet. To do a CSV import, log in as the administrator and navigate to Setup > Import/Export > Import Tasks > Import CSV Records. This will take you to the Import Assistant page.

The Import Assistant page walks you through the entire importing process. Along the way, you will upload your CSV file, determine where in NetSuite this information needs to go, and ensure that the information is all organized correctly when it gets there. If you get through the process but don’t want to run the import right away, you can always save it and return to it at a later date.

CSV Exports

Suppose your situation is reversed: now, you need to extract data from NetSuite. To do a CSV export, navigate (as the administrator) to Setup > Import/Export > Export Tasks > Full CSV Export. This page has detailed instructions for how to complete the export. Once you are ready to start the export, click Submit.

The name “Full CSV Export” is a bit misleading. NetSuite actually can’t export all of your data as CSV files. Nevertheless, a Full CSV Export does export the majority of your lists and records, including the most common ones like Accounting Lists, Customers, Employees, Items, Partners, Tasks, and Vendors. Once the export is complete, you will download a ZIP file that contains all the CSV files.

Duplicate Detection

Sometimes when you are running a CSV import, there is a risk of importing duplicate records into NetSuite. If you want to have the option of avoiding duplicate record imports, you should make sure your NetSuite account is set up for duplicate detection.

First, the Duplicate Detection & Merge feature should be turned on. You can turn this feature on under the Company tab in Enable Features.

Second, you should set your duplicate detection preferences. To do this, navigate to Setup > Company > Company Management > Duplicate Detection. On this page, you can decide which record types NetSuite will detect duplicates on. You can do this for Customer, Vendor, Partner, and Contact records. You can also decide what constitutes a duplicate within in those record types—in other words, which fields should have unique values in each record.

Mass Updates

Another data management tool is the ability to do mass updates. Mass updates are helpful when you need to make a specific change across all or most records within a record type. To define a mass update, navigate to Lists > Mass Update > Mass Updates. On this page, expand the category you need and the select the link you need under that category.

On this page, you can set the boundaries for your mass update under the subtabs. Under the Criteria subtab, you can set specific filters for your update. Under the Results subtab, you can determine the appearance of the update results. And under the Audience subtab, you can select users who are eligible to run the update. You can also set a schedule for the update to run on under the Schedule subtab.

Once you have finished defining the mass update, select Preview at the bottom of the page to double-check that you are making the right changes to the right records. Under the Apply column on the Preview page, you can deselect any records that should not have the mass update performed on them. As long as the mass update is being applied to fewer than 1,000 records, you will have this option. 

On the Preview page you can either click the Return to Criteria button if you need to make any changes, or you can click the Perform Update button if you are satisfied that all the information is correct. And if this is an update that you plan to reuse, then click Save. Once you click Perform Update, though, there is no going back; so be extra careful to preview the changes you’re making!

Inline Editing

At times, you may just need to make a quick change to some records. One (very lengthy) way to edit records would be to open each record, but inline editing is a more efficient method to make your edits.

To use inline editing, first you need to turn on the Inline Editing feature, which you can do under the Company subtab of Enable Features. Then, navigate to the list of records that you want to edit. We’ll use the Employee list as our example. On the page with the list of employees, select the Edit button in the header of the list.

Once you’ve turned on inline editing, the titles of the fields that can be edited will display a pencil icon. At this point, all you would have to do is click into the specific fields that you need to edit, make the change, and then click outside of that field to save your changes. If for some reason you are not able to edit these fields, then you do not have editing permission for these records and would need to contact your NetSuite administrator.


The data management tools in NetSuite ensure that all your information can stay up-to-date and accurate. If this post helped you understand NetSuite better, be sure to subscribe to our mailing list below to receive future posts directly in your inbox once a week!