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Troubleshoot file import errors

File imports can take some time to process. Import speed is dependent on the size of the file, as well as the size of your existing audience, especially if you're updating existing contacts, because data in the file has to be checked against existing contact records.

To see the status of your imports, open the Audience section in your account, then click Imports on the left. If the file has failed to upload, you'll see an "Error" status next to it:


View the import summary

In some cases, viewing the import summary will provide an explanation for the error. Click on the name of the file to view the summary.

Animation showing in-store-signups.xls being clicked to open the popup import summary

Clearly label each column in your import file to help you choose the correct field type during the import process. For example, if you have a column named "Purchase date" you'll know to choose the "Date picker" contact field type.

Review formatting issues

File import errors are often caused by formatting issues in the spreadsheet, many of which are easy to fix, as explained below.

File format

For various reasons, file format can cause an import to fail. If your spreadsheet is an .xls or .xlsx, file type, try converting it to a .csv file.

Multiple sheets in your file

Spreadsheets containing multiple sheets cannot be processed. Make sure the file you're importing only has one sheet.

Multiple email addresses

Only one email address should be entered per cell and all email addresses in your file should be in the same column.

If you accidentally import duplicate email addresses, they will be deduplicated during the import process. These will show up as "Duplicate rows" in your import summary, and this will not cause your import to fail.

Special formatting and formulas

Spreadsheet formulas and other types of data formatting can conflict with the import process. If there are formulas or special formatting applied to data that you want to import, reformat those columns to plain text and try importing again.

If data with special formatting doesn't need to be imported, it's best to exclude those columns. Copy only the columns to want to import to a new spreadsheet and import that instead.

Data formatting for contact fields

If you're importing data to contact fields, be aware that some field types require the data to be formatted correctly for a successful import.

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