Answered By: Wendy Petschik
Last Updated: Feb 07, 2017     Views: 4

How To Make Your Canvas Gradebook .csv File Readable with EXCEL

What is a CSV file?

CSV is a simple file format used to store tabular data, such as a spreadsheet or database. Files in the CSV format can be imported to and exported from programs that store data in tables, such as Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Calc. CSV stands for "comma-separated values.”           

When you download your Canvas gradebook at the end of the semester, Canvas sends you a CSV file.  Here’s how to use the EXCEL Wizard to make your csv gradebook file readable.

First things first…

do not double-click on the csv file to open it!   We will be using the Microsoft “Text Import Wizard” to set up our gradebook file.

Once you have downloaded your gradebook csv file, here’s the process:

  • Open EXCEL
  • Go to the DATA tab  (If you’re using EXCEL 2013 choose, “From Text” at this point)
  • Go to “Get External Data” and choose, “From Text” if using EXCEL 2016.
  • Locate and open the downloaded gradebook in csv file format.

The Text Import Wizard will appear and it will take 3 steps to import the data into an EXCEL spreadsheet.


Step 1 of the Wizard:

  1. select “Delimited” as a file type; also check the box, “My data has headers.”  Click NEXT>


Step 2 of the Wizard:

  1. Select “Comma” as the delimiter and remove all other checkmarks from the delimiters.  Click NEXT>


Step 3 of the Wizard:

  1. At the bottom of this Wizard screen, you’ll see a preview window that will show all the gradebook columns in your file – the window scrolls so you can see all the columns.  All the columns are formatted as “General” by default.  You will only need to make one change… you must change the “SIS User ID” column from General to TEXT.  To do so, click on the column in the preview window to highlight it, then go to the upper portion of the Wizard window and select, “Text” for the column. You’ll see the heading change.  This is to prevent EXCEL from stripping the leading zeros from the student ID numbers.  Do this for any other of your gradebook columns that you may be using a leading zero.   Click Finish.


You’ll be asked where you want to put the data…

new spreadsheets default to cell =$A$1  which is Column A, Row 1.  That is correct, so click  OK.


Your gradebook is now readable in EXCEL. 

You will want to  Save As… an  .xls or .xlsx file format when you’re done.


It is recommended to keep the original csv file as well as your Saved As… file.

Keep these files in one or more safe places so that you can find and access them for several years.




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