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Lee RolnickLee Rolnick 

Importing data (date) into a custom field in contacts

I created a custom field on contacts (its a date field) and I need to know how to import data to that field. 

thanks in advance for any help.
Squire Q KershnerSquire Q Kershner
So many questions.  But to start, What tool(s) are you planning to use to import the date field?

Many times, Workbench users struggle to import dates because Workbench requires a YYYY-MM-DD text string in order to import to a date field, which can be a challenge when excel 'helpfully' converts it to a date format.
Lee RolnickLee Rolnick
not sure which tool to use to import. we have professinal edition. the data is excel and we want to match up the name field and then drop a date into our custom date field. its for order tracking. 
Squire Q KershnerSquire Q Kershner
Aha!  So the question is "What tool can you use to load data to this Contact custom field"?  If so, the best bet, in my opinion, is to use the Apex Data Loader, a free and easy to use application found on the App Exchange, and in the Setup|Data Management|Data Loader section of Salesforce.  It is very easy to use, although I recommend a test run of 1-2 records to make sure you've got it down pat before doing the whole load.

The REAL challenge you'll have is that you will want to load data based on the unique Salesforce ID of the contacts, not based on name (text strings are not reliable External IDs, and frankly you won't be able to load using that field anyway).  You'll probably want to export the Names and SFID of your contacts, and do some matching work in excel to get a better data file (containing a column for SFID and a column with the date, saved to .csv).  Once completed, you simply set up the mapping via Data Loader, and upload the date to the file.  Very straight forward and there are dozens of videos on YouTube to answer the questions you may have.

Good luck, hope that helps.