How do I import subscribers from a file?

You can import subscribers using a number of file formats, including compressed file formats for very large lists.

Important: You must obtain the correct permission from recipients before adding them to a list. Importing subscribers that go against these rules, and our Anti-Spam Policy, may result in the immediate termination of your account.

On this page:

Accepted file formats

The file formats you can import include:

  • Excel documents (e.g. .xls, .xlsx, .csv)
  • comma separated value text files (.csv)
  • tab delimited text files (.txt)
  • vCard files
  • compressed file formats (for example: .zip, .rar, .7z)

File preparation tips

Below are some important tips for preparing your file before importing it.

Non-English characters

If your list of subscribers contains non-English characters, ensure the file is saved using UTF-8 encoding before you import it. Most text editors, such as Notepad and TextEdit, offer encoding options when you save the file.

Excel files

When importing an Excel file, ensure that all of your subscribers are on one sheet. When a file with multiple sheets is imported, only the data from the first sheet is captured.

Deleted subscribers

If you're importing the file to a list of existing subscribers, make sure it doesn't (accidentally) contain email addresses for anyone previously deleted from the list.

When subscribers are deleted from a list through your account, it does not add them to the suppression list. Therefore, importing a file that contains their email address will change their subscriber status from "Deleted" back to "Active."

Importing subscribers from a file

Follow the steps below to import a file to a subscriber list you have created.

Note: Subscribers imported from a file will not be emailed any confirmation that they were added, so you can safely import subscribers who have already opted in from a different system.

  1. Open Lists & subscribers.
  2. Click on a list name to open the list details page, then click Add new subscribers in the right sidebar.
  3. To import a file, either drag-and-drop it from your desktop or click the option to Select it from your computer instead, as pictured below.

    Add new subscribers
  4. Match the subscriber details with your subscriber list fields and, if necessary, create new custom fields during the process, as shown here:

    Choose which columns match which fields.

    Any data assigned to the "Name," "First name" or "Last name" subscriber list fields will be used in the "To:" field when emails are sent to subscribers.
  5. Click Finish adding subscribers to complete the import.

After the file has been imported you'll see a report with information on how many subscribers were added successfully.

Tip: If you are importing multiple, large files to one subscriber list you don't need to wait for the progress bar to complete. Just open your list details page (see step two) in a new browser window to queue up the next file import.

File import reports

The import report is to let you know if there were any email addresses in your file that couldn't be imported, and why. For example:

Here is the full list of import problems that you could encounter:

  • Invalid emails – Refers to incorrectly formatted email addresses.
  • Duplicates – Means the file you imported contains the same email address more than once.
  • Updated – Finds email addresses that already existed in your list, but the file you just imported contained some updated information on them.
  • Unchanged – Refers to addresses already in your list, and all the uploaded information was identical.
  • Custom field problems – The custom field data in your file doesn't match the custom fields created for this list. In this case we import the subscribers but skip field data which doesn't match. You can choose Download all to amend the file data, then re-import.
  • Suppressed – Means these addresses are on your suppression list so we didn't import them.

File import reports are visible on your list details page for seven days, or you can dismiss them earlier.

Invalid email addresses

If your file contains incorrectly formatted email addresses they will be included in the file import report so you can correct them. For example, the subscriber Sally Finkle wasn't imported because there's a space before the @ in her email address:

Just click on the email address to edit it. When corrected, you'll see it gets saved as shown here:

We can only check that an email address is semantically valid, meaning it has the right elements in the right order, there are no spaces, it's not missing an "@" and so on. We cannot detect email addresses that are correctly formatted but invalid because they're no longer in use.

If your subscribe form is receiving valid, but fake email addresses – as can happen with contest sign up forms, for example – you may want to consider using a confirmed opt-in list.