Why is my CSV file not importing?
If you’re experiencing issues importing a CSV (whether for adding Members or Activities to your workspaces), we compiled a list of common issues with CSV files (and accompanying fixes).
CSV file is not UTF-8 encoded
The issue: Orbit expects uploaded CSVs to be UTF-8 encoded, but some spreadsheet software (most notably MS Excel) suggest a different encoding by default.
The fix: When exporting your CSV file from a spreadsheet software, look for a “Text encoding” option. In the dropdown, select “Unicode (UTF-8)” and re-export your file.
The dropdown for Text Encoding in macOS’s Numbers
CSV file has an extra empty row at the top
The issue: Orbit expects the first row of the CSV file to be the headers. It can happen that spreadsheet software adds an empty first row in the exported CSV, leading to an error.
The fix: Open the CSV file with a text editor (or a code editor) and check that the first line is not empty. If it is, delete that row from inside your spreadsheet software and re-export the CSV file.
CSV file is semicolon-separated, instead of comma-separated
The issue: In some countries, like France, the usual separator for CSVs is a semicolon, not a comma (even though CSV stands for Comma-Separated Values, I know 😅). When that’s the case, Orbit will not be able to process the file.
The fix: Some spreadsheet software have an option to force the separator to be a comma. For others (like macOS’s Numbers), this is not possible. What we suggest then is either to use another editor if you have one handy (Google Spreadsheets, MS Excel, or LibreOffice) or to change the locale of your current one to en-US.
CSV file is using decimal separators other than a period
The issue: In some countries, like France, the decimal separator is a comma instead of a period (e.g. “12,45” instead of “12.45”), which can lead to structural issues in the file (as the comma is the expected CSV separator).
The fix: Some spreadsheet software have an option to force the decimal separator to be a period. For others (like macOS’s Numbers), this is not possible. What we suggest then is either to use another editor if you have one handy (Google Spreadsheet, MS Excel, or LibreOffice) or to change the locale of your current one to en-US.
CSV file needs quotations around your values
The issue: If a field you enter contains symbols like commas, semi colons, or colons, and you do not surround that value with quotation marks, then it will prevent Orbit from parsing that field correctly
The fix: Put quotation marks around any field that has commas, semi colons, or colons. (e.g.
"Event timeline: greetings, speaker, happy hour")
CSV file values that are in quotations are not being interpreted correctly
There are several possible issues with this.
Issue 1: If you are manually entering values into your CSV, you may have added spaces between your comma separated values (e.g. Name, “hello, this is my bio”, “Boston, MA”). These spaces will prevent Orbit from parsing the quotations correctly.
The fix: Remove all spaces after commas that separate each value. (e.g. Name,”hello, this is my bio”,”Boston, MA”)
Issue 2: You may be using the wrong quotation symbol (e.g.
“ ” ← These are paired quotation marks that have a different unicode symbol than the one Orbit is looking for)
The fix: Replace all quotations in your file with the standard neutral quotation mark:
- Why is my CSV file not importing?
- CSV file is not UTF-8 encoded
- CSV file has an extra empty row at the top
- CSV file is semicolon-separated, instead of comma-separated
- CSV file is using decimal separators other than a period
- CSV file needs quotations around your values
- CSV file values that are in quotations are not being interpreted correctly