Using the Data Import tool in Smokeball


Get started on your Smokeball journey by importing all essential contact and matter data from your previous legal software or other sources.

What can be imported?

  • Staff
  • Contacts
  • Matters
  • Matter Opening Balances
  • Tasks (BOOST only)
  • Activity Types - Coming soon
  • Unbilled Time/Fee Entries - Coming soon
  • Unbilled Expense Entries - Coming soon
  • Memos (BOOST only) - Coming soon

To give you the best experience once up and running with Smokeball, we recommend importing only relevant/active data. For example, minimising importing items such as closed Matters and completed Tasks where possible.

Step 1: Preparing your source data

Prepare your source data to ensure a smooth upload and import process. To get started:

  1. Export the above-listed data from your previous software into any of the following file types:
    • CSV (comma-separated values)
    • XSLX (Microsoft Excel 2007 and later)
    • XLS (Microsoft Excel 97 to 2003)
  2. Follow the Preparing your source data for import article.

Step 2: Starting a new import

Once your data has been formatted as per the recommendations outlined in Step 1, you are ready to upload it to Smokeball.

  1. Select the gear icon in the top-right corner of the Smokeball Web App, then select Data Import. If you are on Smokeball Bill, you can access the Data Import Tool by selecting the gear icon in the lower-left corner. 
  2. Select New import.
  3. Select Upload under the data you wish to import into Smokeball.
    • Note: Some data types are unavailable (greyed out) until prerequisite data is uploaded and clear of errors.
    • Selecting Cancel import will discard all data under this import, allowing you to start over.

Once an import has been started, it will appear on this screen as In-Progress.

You can come back to this at any time before submitting the import.

An import can be submitted containing only Staff and/or Contacts. However, most other types of data rely on Contacts or Matters being present in the import. The description text and tooltips for each data tile will indicate when this is the case. If importing Matters, ensure all Matters that need to be imported are done together in the same import.

Step 3: Mapping columns

Once a file has been uploaded, it is time to map the columns you have in the file with Smokeball's data columns.

  1. Select the row that is the header row in your source data. This step will be skipped if the tool can automatically detect the header row.
  2. Click Next.
  3. You will now be presented with the Map columns window. Under the Destination Columns section, use the drop-down menu to select a suitable destination field for each uploaded column.

    • The Sample Data column displays a preview of data from the corresponding column in the source data. (e.g. the Sample Data for the 'Last Name' column will extract Last Names from your source data).
    • The tool may automatically map some columns that it thinks will match with your data. You can change this by choosing another option from the Destination Columns drop-down menu.
    • Select Suggest mappings (not always available) at the top of the table to use AI-generated recommended mappings. We recommend reviewing the suggestions before proceeding.
  4. Click Next once done. You may only proceed if all Required Columns have been mapped. 

An error message may appear if a required column has not been mapped, indicating the problem column that needs to be mapped. 


If your source file does not contain a column that can be mapped to a "Required" Smokeball column, the following actions will need to be taken:

  1. Close the mapping view.
  2. Open your source data file (in Excel or similar) and add a column that can be used to map to the "Required" Smokeball column (the column name does not need to match the Smokeball column name).
  3. Re-upload the source file and proceed to map the columns.

Have issues with mapping columns? Review Preparing your source data for import to fix common pitfalls, then re-upload your file.

Step 4: Reviewing the uploaded data

Once mapping has been completed, all the data will be presented in a table. This view points out any validation issues in the data and allows you to edit the fields directly before saving the upload.

Any errors in the data are highlighted in red.
Any warnings in the data are highlighted in yellow.

The right-hand panel also shows a summary of all errors and warnings. Where a suggested fix is available, you can select Fix formatting errors to fix multiple errors in a column in bulk.

Click on the counter filter to filter the view by rows containing specific issues.
Click again to clear the filter and show all the data.

Some other useful tips to help navigate and edit data:

  • Filter tabs to the top right of the data to show clean rows/rows with issues.
  • "Find and Replace" button 
  • Keyboard shortcuts:
    • Ctrl + Z = undo
    • Shift + arrows = select cells
    • Backspace or Delete = delete value from cell(s)
    • Ctrl + F = find a value

Additional rows can also be added directly from this view using the "Add Row" Button.

From this screen, you can Save a file upload.

You can save with errors and warnings still present and, if required, come back to continue fixing later. All errors must be fixed before the overall import can be submitted.

The Data Import screen will show a summary of any errors and warnings still present in the data.

At this point, you are free to close the tool and resume the in-progress import later.

To make any further adjustments, select Edit to reopen the uploaded data.

The overall import cannot be submitted until all data types are clear of errors (the import can be submitted with warnings). Refer to the summary of import errors from the import screen.

Repeat the above steps for every data type you wish to upload.

Matters & Matter Types

If importing Matters, an additional selection is required when uploading your Matter source file to indicate if you are importing matters within your firm's state only, or also other states.

The selection made here will dictate the Smokeball Matter Types shown to you when you reach the Matter Type mapping stage, where you will map your input Matter Types to those supported in Smokeball.

When mapping your input Matter Types to Smokeball Matter types, some Smokeball Matter Types have multiple "acting for" options, for example, Insurance Coverage - Insured and Insurance Coverage - Insurer. Where this is the case, you will see various options available for selection in the Smokeball Matter Type dropdowns and can select the most suitable choice.

In the above example, "IL" is the state, "Civil" is the matter type category, "Insurance Coverage" is the matter type, and "Insured" is the "acting for" role.

TIP: When mapping matter types, expand the column widths to get a better view of the dropdown options.

Step 5: Submitting the import

Once you have uploaded, mapped, and fixed all outstanding errors in all the data types to be imported, select Submit import.

Once an import is submitted, it cannot be reversed. Please ensure all data is in the desired format.

On the Data Import screen, the import status will change from In-progress to Submitted.

Once the import has been validated, the status will change to Loading.

Then Complete, and your data now resides in Smokeball.

Clicking "View summary" will show a count of data included in the import.



Once an Import has been submitted, if further validation issues are identified in the data, the status of the import will change to Failed Validation. A downloadable error file will be available to indicate the problem data, allowing you to re-open the current import, fix and any issues, then resubmit it.

Failed records

If an import completes but some records failed to load into Smokeball, the status of the import will be Complete and a downloadable error file will be available to indicate the failed records and reason for failure. Using the error file, a subsequent import can be performed for the failed records.


Once an Import has been submitted, if an unexpected system issue occurs, the status of the import will change to Failed Validation. If this is the case, please contact Support via the top right help (?) icon.

I need help with formatting and mapping my data.

Refer to Preparing your source data for import if you encounter any issues with mapping columns in the Data Import tool.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful

Articles in this section