Home : Software Terms : Import Definition


Import is a command typically located within a program's File menu (File → Import...). Like the standard File → Open... command, Import is used for opening files, but it serves a more specific purpose. Instead of opening standard file types, Import is often used for importing parts of files, program settings, plug-ins, or other unconventional file formats.

Not all applications include an Import option, since the "Open..." command is often sufficient. Instead, the Import command is only found in programs that require a means of importing unique types of data. For example, Adobe Photoshop includes an Import command that allows users to import frames from a video file as layers in an image document. Intuit Quicken includes an Import feature that allows users to import data from .QIF documents or download information directly from the Web. Most Web browsers also include an Import option that allows users to import saved bookmarks and other settings.

While the Import command can serve a number of different purposes, its main function is to import file types that cannot be opened with the standard "Open..." command. Therefore, if you want to import unconventional types of data into an application, the File → Import... command may be your best bet.

Many programs also include an Export command, which is used for saving data in a specific format.

Updated: September 2, 2010

Cite this definition:


TechTerms - The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

This page contains a technical definition of Import. It explains in computing terminology what Import means and is one of many software terms in the TechTerms dictionary.

All definitions on the TechTerms website are written to be technically accurate but also easy to understand. If you find this Import definition to be helpful, you can reference it using the citation links above. If you think a term should be updated or added to the TechTerms dictionary, please email TechTerms!

Subscribe to the TechTerms Newsletter to get featured terms and quizzes right in your inbox. You can choose to receive either a daily or weekly email.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe at any time.
Questions? Please contact us.