Learn@UW - Possible Problem Importing Exported Grades File

Attempting to import a Grades .csv file that was exported from the gradebook of a course may fail if either

  • You created new grade item(s) with an invalid header in the first row.
  • You opened the Grades file with Microsoft Excel and did not save it as a .csv file.
  • You opened the Grades file with Microsoft Excel 2002 on a Windows PC, saved as a .csv file, but did not remove extraneous characters added before re-importing.

The symptom is the following error message during "Step 1" of the Import process:

 The import file selected cannot be read.
 Please refer to the sample import file to see how the import file should appear.

Preventing the Problem

If you are creating new grade item(s), note that the headers in the first row for the new item(s) must be correctly formatted depending upon the type of grade item:

Type Format Example
Numeric item_name Points Grade Assign 5 Points Grade
Pass/Fail item_name Points Grade Safety Quiz Points Grade
Selectbox item_name Grade Symbol Report 1 Grade Symbol
Text item_name Text Grade Attitude Text Grade

Do not forget to insert Points Grade, Grade Symbol, or Text Grade following the grade item name.

Be sure that your Excel file is always saved in the CSV (comma delimited) (*.csv) format.


If you export the gradebook and open the file in Excel for Mac 2004 or 2008 (Macintosh) or MS Excel 2002 (Windows), the first cell in the spreadsheet will contain three extraneous characters ( ôªø ) appended to the key field header.  You will see ôªøOrgDefinedID or ôªøUsername depending on what key field was exported.  

This is a known issue.  

If you are on a Windows machine and the extraneous characters in the key field header are present, you must remove them and re-save.  To prevent the extraneous characters from being inserted in the first place, open the file with a text editor instead of Microsoft Excel. You may also wish to upgrade your Microsoft Excel to a more recent version.

On the a Macintosh, if the file is saved as .csv (comma delimited), it can be re-imported, despite the presence of the extraneous characters in the key field header.


If your Grades file is a valid .csv file with correct headers and no extraneous characters added and you are still unable to import the file into your course, the import failure was caused by another problem. If you are at UW-Madison, please contact the DoIT Help Desk for assistance with this problem. Otherwise, contact your campus help desk.





Keywords:brightspace learn@uw learnuw d2l desire2learn Microsoft Excel field import export grade file Miscrosoft excel format csv header extraneous character   Doc ID:8183
Owner:Susan D.Group:Learn@UW Utility
Created:2008-09-07 19:00 CDTUpdated:2015-06-03 16:08 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Learn@UW Utility
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