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Prepare your file – Part 2: Organising the information in your import files
Prepare your file – Part 2: Organising the information in your import files

Learn which profiles should go in a file and the criteria to design a spreadsheet table

Cláudia Duarte avatar
Written by Cláudia Duarte
Updated over a week ago

Part 1 dealt with CSV-related specifications and explained that a CSV file can be created from any spreadsheet program by designing a simple table, but there’s a little more ground to cover still: how to organise content, including GDPR consents.

What do I need to know about collecting and using personal data?

Plainly, every school dealing with European Union individuals must collect consent from prospects, applicants and students to process their data and contact them, and be willing to disclose the source and date of receipt of consent, regardless of whether the school has a physical location in the EU. Then you must record given consent on behalf of your users when importing.

The reason is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): a legal framework that came into effect on May 25, 2018 and requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of individuals in the European Union.

For your instance to become GDPR compliant you have to publish your school's privacy and marketing policies, otherwise none of this will be applicable as you won't be requested to record consent when importing. Not complying with GDPR puts your school at risk of fines and sanctions by the Data Protection Authority. Contact our Support team to seek assistance in publishing your policies.

Should my profiles be split into different files?

While an import file allows for a great deal of individual profile customisation, files should have uniform records when it comes to three pieces of data: consent for data processing and marketing communications, tags and source category.

That's because the actual importer has built-in areas to record the aforesaid information, so that's the way to document it instead of adding as columns to file. Consequently, you have to break down your profiles into different files in accordance to what's applicable to them since the importer will enforce the same three settings on everybody. Concisely: a file must share the same consents, the same tags and the same source category.

How to format a spreadsheet table for a successful import?

You can't design without content, and you also can't design without parameters. On that premise, above we told told you what profiles should go in a file, but just like a house will crumble down without a strong foundation, follow the guidelines herein described to avoid future import mistakes when designing your table! 🛠


  • Add a single row at the top of your spreadsheet to act as column header. Match the columns in your file to the corresponding fields in FF to auto-map (recommended).

  • Every profile must be located on a separate row.

  • First name, Last name and Email are required for creating new profiles.

  • Email is used to match with existing profiles in FF.

Field accuracy

  • To import data into a drop-down field, the values in the table must reproduce the values in the drop-down list, including capitalisation.

  • Nationality and country names should match the ISO-3166 short names exactly (tick Country codes and click the magnifier to view the list).

  • Dates should match the ISO-8601 pattern: YYYY/MM/DD – e.g., 2018/08/30.

  • Gender can be Male or Female.

  • Special characters (e.g., æ, å, ü, ø, î, é) won't show up properly unless you encode to UTF-8 – i.e., save or export to CSV UTF-8 (Comma delimited (.csv).

  • Delete empty rows and empty columns inside the table.

  • Remove trailing spaces.

  • Convert formulas to values.


PUBLISHED: October 2, 2018
LAST UPDATED: October 2, 2018 at 4:44 p.m.

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