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How to Cleanse Backstop Notes and Spark Joy

Mergers and acquisitions happen. As do good and bad exits. More favorable exit ratio intuitively sparks more joy. When such events take place, how do you keep your Backstop data tidy? Borrowing techniques from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, a trending Netflix show, we aim to spark joy and restore mindfulness, with the help of Backstop Note Upload Tool.

Every Backstop Note has a semi-permanent home. Once created, that given Note is associated with an Attached To value that cannot be revised in a web browser. For instance, how would you ever sweep a few thousand Notes from Red Hat to IBM or Github to Microsoft without pulling all-nighters for weeks?

The Template

As a purist, you only must supply two (2) columns in order to achieve the stated objective. Feed this Excel spreadsheet to the Note Upload Tool and viola!

  • Backstop ID (identifying the targeted Note)
  • Entity ID (the new Attached To value)

If extra motivated, you may also update other values:

  • Effective Date
  • Author
  • Note Title
  • Regarding ID & Regarding Entity Type

The Excel template is freely available on Github.

The Mapping

Since the columns shown above are deliberately named to match the Note Upload Tool as much as feasible, we have minimal column mapping left to do. One exception (as of this writing) is Effective Date, which is known as Occurred Date in the backend.

Another key thing to remember: Map Backstop ID to Look up by Backstop ID in order to edit existing records. Otherwise, new records will be inserted instead, creating more mess! Marie won’t approve.

Most importantly, Regarding Entity Type must be supplied whenever updating Regarding ID values. Backstop currently mandates those fields to be joined by the hips.

Tidying Up Principles

The Note Upload Tool packs lots of power and should be handled with respect and gratitude (#konmari). Below is a list of principles to ensure a smooth transition:

  • Author must be a System User (eg kenneth_lo), not Full Name (eg Kenneth Lo).
  • Entity ID, the eventual Attached To value, must be a Backstop Party ID and cannot be blank.
  • If updating Regarding ID, Regarding Entity Type cannot be blank and must be set (eg Contact).
  • Blank values cannot overwrite any column. In another word, there is no way to blank out any cell using Note Upload Tool.


The lines between Attached To, Links (aka Additional Links) and Regarding have always seemed blurry and a source of confusion among new Backstop users. I’d love to see a streamlined model with just Primary (single Contact) and Secondary (multiple Contacts) across all Backstop activity types.

Another desire is keeping Attached To and Links (aka Additional Links) values separate in Report Builder. Currently, those values are involuntary cellmates. Imagine the additional challenges this overcrowding issue creates when grouping by Attached To values in a pivot table. It is an impossible feat regardless of how hard you parse those values.

Happy Tidying Up!