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Problem importing grades

I'm trying to import grades from an Excel spreadsheet to Canvas via a CSV file, but it's not working out well.

I managed to do this successfully - once - by entering some scores manually into Canvas, downloading them as a CSV file, editing that file with a new set of scores, and uploading it. However, I had to copy the scores from my Excel spreadsheet to the CSV file in bits and pieces, rather than all at once, because the spreadsheet and the CSV that I downloaded from Canvas didn't have the exact same students in the exact same order. There were two reasons for the differences: (1) I've made some drops lately that aren't reflected in Canvas yet, and (2) Canvas and Excel don't alphabetize names quite the same way when there are people with two surnames

Copying the scores in bits and pieces to compensate for the names being in a different order - and checking to make sure I hadn't messed up - took quite a while. So for my second import attempt, I tried creating the CSV with the same students in the same order as in my Excel spreadsheet, so that I could copy and paste their scores in a single step. Naturally, that didn't work: Canvas says "Invalid CSV files. Grades could not be updated."

So before I invest more time experimenting with this, can anyone tell me if there's any leeway at all regarding the list of student names in the CSV file? (By the way, this wasn't an issue at all in Etudes, but maybe I just got spoiled.)

Thanks in advance for your help!

37 Replies
Community Member

I am having the same issue. Tried all the solutions suggested above. Also tried saving in MD-DOS csv format. Invalid file issue persists. No extra visible characters either. Any suggestions? 

Save as Windows csv if you have that option--this is the only thing that works for me (and I've tried soooooo many things!).

would you mind posting/sending a screenshot of the Windows csv save as option? maybe I am missing something Smiley Sad



Has this always been the case? I seem to remember from a few months back that if you export the gradebook, it DID save it in the correct file format to re-upload. Now, if you don't re-save and change the file format, it won't re-upload. 

Community Member

I tried the download and immediately reupload method suggested. Seems to work for me as I get a message saying no changes detected. 

I tried the save as with setting the encoding to UTF-8 as suggested by CANVAS support - DID NOT WORK. 

They have suggested using Google Sheets. If I copy paste my data to a Google Sheets file and export it as a csv file to my desktop and then upload it IT WORKS. 

I am happy that something works and I dont have to manually update 100+ grades I am not happy that this is the workaround provided! Should not be so. 

I will update here if I get a better solution. 

Save the file as Windows csv, that is the only thing that has worked for me (and I've spent HOURS trying different things, including talking to Canvas "help").

I am noticing that the exported file is not in the correct CSV format. This looks like a recent bug to me.

Community Member

Hey everyone, I have spent HOURS trying to get csv files to upload, talked to Canvas support, nothing worked.  The gentleman on the other end of the line got it to work from his computer, and was like "all fixed now" but I still could not get it to work.  I finally figured it out!!!!  After you make the changes to your csv file, instead of saving, choose "save as" and save as Windows csv.  Then it will upload.  This worked for me and saved my sanity, hope it works for others with this problem.

What is Windows csv? I don't see the option in my excel (using excel 2016) - see attached. If someone has an older version of excel on their machine could you please check if the same problem occurs and post here?  I wonder if it has anything to do with the latest version of excel..

Excel Save As Options - Excel 2016


You have the correct option selected.

1) After you select the option you have highlighted, use it to replace the *csv file you downloaded from the export grades feature.  Confirm that you are aware that it will overwrite.

2) Close Excel - a warning dialog will popup saying - "Some features will be lost....Do you want to keep using that format?" Click on "Yes" and it should return you back to the file.

3) After that when you close the file, you will get another warning dialog prompting you to save, click on "Don't Save" this time since you already did so in Step 1.

Now import the csv file in canvas gradebook.

Hope this helps.