Troubleshooting: Uploading your participant list

During the ‘Create survey’ process, if you have a problem uploading your spreadsheet of participant information then don’t panic. It is likely to be the results of a small error – usually something you have done when you saved the file or entered your data. Go back and check the following things:

1. Make sure the file opens properly. If it doesn’t it may be because you do not have MS Excel (or similar) installed on your computer.

2. Make sure the file is saved in the correct format (.csv). This should happen automatically when you download the template but you can also select it from the menu of file types when you save any Excel file.

3. Check that you have entered data in all the relevant cells in your spreadsheet. With the exception of email address (which you can leave blank), you have to enter a valid answer in every cell. Note that text is not case sensitive, so it doesn’t matter if you use a mix of lower case and capital letters.

4. If you have chosen to add your own tags, you must enter answers exactly as you entered them when creating the questions. The possible answers appear in the second row. If you try to upload a spreadsheet with mistakes, you should receive a message telling you where those mistakes are.

5. Check that there are no spaces, mistakes or stray characters in your answers. (TIP! An easy way to find extra spaces is to highlight the area you would like to search and select ‘Edit’ > ‘Find’ (or use the shortcut CTRL+F). In the ‘Find’ box, enter a space and click ‘Find All’. This will locate the spaces. You can then use the ‘Replace’ function if you wish to remove the spaces or do it manually.)

Finally, if you can’t locate the error, sometimes it is better to go back and start again – particularly if you don’t have many participants. The error is likely to be very minor but sometimes it will take longer to find the problem than redo your list.

If you still have problems uploading your list of participants, you can email us for technical support on


About John Copps

John is part of NPC's research and consulting team and is the founder of NPC's Well-being Measure, a social business that provides an online tool to measure young people’s well-being. He has eight years experience of research and consulting, and is passionate about how data can be used to improve the performance of organisations. John is a regular contributor to NPC's blog and has also contributed to pieces for BBC Radio, the Guardian, and the Financial Times. John is a governor of a secondary school.
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