10 Issues to Look for Before Importing a CSV File

Modified on: 2014-11-05 09:14:51 -0600

The SharpSpring Import Tool is designed to add leads to the Contact Manager in seconds. For the most part, adding a CSV file is a stress free endeavor. However, there are issues that can arise when you're trying to import a spreadsheet as a CSV file.

The following tips should serve as a checklist of issues to look for before attempting to import a CSV file.

Here are 10 Issues you Should Look for Before Importing a CSV File

1. Open the CSV file in a text editor like Notepad++ or TextEdit. This will allow you to diagnose any problems with the format of the CSV file. The following screenshot will show you what the CSV file will look like in the text editor.

2. Scan the CSV from top to bottom and look for any rows containing garbled multi-byte characters (represented as funny looking symbols) or binary symbols. (These characters could indicate that an encoding issue occurred while producing the document initially and could cause records to be rejected.

3. Ensure that the rows are comma delimited. Each comma represents a separate column, while each new line represents a new row. They should not be separated by tab stops, colon characters or anything other than a comma.

The format of the CSV should appear in the text editor as the following:

Adams, Jane, 46, female, New York

Doe, John, 32, male, California

Jones, Sam, 13, male, Texas

Smith, Mary, 64, female, Louisiana

4. Ensure the file contains ascii text and not binary data (notable by the presence of odd looking symbols). In the case of a purely binary file, the likely cause is the upload of an excel doc rather than CSV.

5. Rows containing commas as data (not as record separators) should have their fields encased in quotation marks to avoid this data being misinterpreted as a delimiter. Commas that represent separate columns are called delimiters.

6. Quotes within quotes should be represented as two quotes next to each other. For example, "Field has ""quoted values"" inside."

7. Ensure that the document does not contain a large number of empty or blank lines (notable by the presence of many rows containing only commas or the ability to keep scrolling down past the point where visible data is present).

8. If the CSV is a single-line document scroll to the right as far as you can and apply the previous instructions regarding scanning for junk data.

9. If everything seems ok, open the CSV in Excel and confirm the presence of a valid header. Scroll through the document and ensure that the number of rows isn't too large.

10. Check the file size and confirm that the CSV is 10M or less. If the file is larger, you will need to split the CSV into multiple smaller files.

The following screenshot will show you what the CSV file should look like in a spreadsheet.


You should now have a better understanding of potential issues when you're importing a CSV file. As always, if you have any questions or concerns send us an email to partnersupport@sharpspring.com.

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