Formatting A CSV File

Uploading a CSV with ContactMonkey is a quick and easy way to add a large number of contacts to your internal communication campaigns. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to make sure your CSV file is formatted properly before uploading to ContactMonkey.

CSV files are used as an alternative to internally built email lists. A CSV file allows you to create custom lists without relying on IT departments. They can be exported from a data source like Workday or another employee directory and uploaded into ContactMonkey.

What's a CSV?

CSV stands for "Comma-Separated Values" and refers to a simple file format used for storing and exchanging data between different applications. In this format, data is organized in rows and columns, with each column separated by a comma.  


CSV Best Practices

Before uploading a CSV with ContactMonkey, make sure that your CSV file is formatted correctly. Consider using our sample CSV file to make it as easy as possible.

  • Make sure the file has been exported & saved from your data source as  "CSV UTF-8 (Comma delimited) (*.csv)".
  • Title the first column "Email", and include each email address in the same column. 
  • Do not include special characters or numbers in the titles of your CSV file
  • Email addresses must be formatted correctly: all have domains, no spaces before or after.
  • Ensure there are no duplicate email addresses.
  • Remove columns not being used as a merge field.

Upload CSV Limit

ContactMonkey has a limit of up to 10,000 recipients for any one .CSV file. It is recommended that you keep the CSV file to much less than 10,000 recipients so that the users email limits won't be reached. 


Cleaning Your CSV Data In Excel

ContactMonkey allows you to upload contacts via CSV or upload contacts to manage using List Management. However, before you do that, we recommend cleaning up your spreadsheet to remove duplicates, delete irrelevant columns and remove blank cells within the email column and spaces within the cells.

Remove Duplicate Data

Duplicate data can cause sending problems or the same email sending to the same user multiple times if you upload the duplicate data into ContactMonkey.

To remove duplicate data, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Excel sheet and select the range of cells where you want to remove duplicates.
  2. Click on the "Data" tab in the ribbon at the top of the Excel window.
  3. In the "Data Tools" group, click on the "Remove Duplicates" button.

4. A "Remove Duplicates" dialog box will appear. In this dialog box, you can choose which columns to consider when looking for duplicates. You can select or deselect columns as needed.


5. Once you have selected the columns, click on the "OK" button to remove the duplicates.

Excel will display a message showing how many duplicates were found and how many were removed.

6. Click on the "OK" button to close the message box and complete the process.

7. Save your Excel sheet with the removed duplicates.


Eliminate Excess Spaces Within Cells

Any excessive blank spaces and tab spaces will cause a formatting issue when using the CSV file. Excels  "TRIM" function can eliminate these unnecessary blank spaces.

To use the TRIM function, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new column next to the column with excess spaces
  2. In the first cell of the new column, apply TRIM(). Select a data cell with excessive blank spaces and/or tab spaces. 

  1. Drag the cell down to apply the function to the other cells below

  2. It shows the final data after the elimination of the excess space as follows, double check that the column still has a header with no spaces
  3. Select the clean column and copy it

  4. Paste only the Values into a new column

  1. Select the two old columns and delete them
  2. You should now have a TRIM data set (you can choose to reorganize the headers based on preference).

Now that your CSV file has been cleaned, you can feel confident using it! See how to upload it to ContactMonkey’s List Management here



Q: What if I can't see UTF-8 as a CSV option?

A: Some older versions of Excel don't allow you to save as UTF-8 directly. However, you can save as a CSV following these steps:
  1. Click "Tools" beside Save button
  2. Select "Web Options"
  3. Click "Encoding" tab in pop up
  4. Select dropdown and choose "Unicode (UTF-8)"
  5. Check "Always [...] default [...]" box
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