Importing students with CSV

One of the ways of registering participants is by importing them using a CSV file.

CSV stands for Comma Separated Value. A CSV file is a text file which stores tabular data in plan text. If you open a CSV file in a text editor (e.g. NotePad, WordPad, TextEdit, etc.) you’ll see a string of values (words, numbers, etc.) separated by commas, like this:

Click import

CSV files can also be opened up and edited in a spreadsheet application such as Excel.

The instructions below will walk you through the steps of downloading the CSV template, inserting your questions into it, and uploading the file into your Poll Everywhere account.

Step 1: Click the Participants tab on your Activities page. This page shows any participants who have already registered to your account.

Click import

Step 2: Select the Add participant button.

Click import

Step 3: Click the Import button.

Click import

Step 4: Click the Download the CSV import spreadsheet link and save the csv file to your computer.

Click import

Step 5: Open the downloaded CSV file in your spreadsheet application (for this tutorial we’re using Microsoft Excel on a Mac).

Helpful tip: You can safely ignore any message saying, “Some features may be lost if you save this workbook in the comma-delimited (.csv) format….”

Click import

Step 6: Complete the CSV file with your participants’ data. It might be helpful to take a look at the layout and formatting of the file at this point.

  • Email (Required): The participant will need to use this email when logging in.
  • First Name (Required)
  • Last Name (Required)
  • Password: You can assign participants specific passwords if you want. If you leave this field blank, the participant will be prompted to create a new one when they attempt to log in.

Helpful tip: Unless you plan to assign each participant a unique, strong password, it is recommended you leave that field blank on your CSV. Do not assign the same universal password to all your participants as that will create security issues.

  • Phone (Incl. country code): For example, 1-916-555-1212
  • Custom Report ID: Most often used to assign an ID number or nickname to easily identify participants. It pre-populates the “How should you be identified” field participants can access on the “Participant registration” page of their accounts.
  • Private Data: This field is only used by certain custom accounts.

Helpful tip: The order of columns is important. Only include columns containing the data indicated above. If you choose to skip entering information that is not required (Password, Phone, Custom Report ID) make sure to leave an empty column as a placeholder. Participants without an assigned password must set one by requesting a password reset email.

Here is an example of a complete CSV file. Click import

Step 7: After completing the CSV, save the file. Make sure you save it as a CSV. Again, you can safely ignore any message saying, “Some features may be lost if you save this workbook in the comma-delimited (.csv) format….”

Step 8: Click the Choose file button and select the csv file to import your participants.

Click import

Step 9: If you want to make sure participants know how to log in, check the box to email login instructions to participants (recommended).

Click import

Step 10: You can assign participants to an existing group or create a new group for them if you wish (e.g. “British Lit 121”).

Click import

Step 11: Click the Continue button to process the csv file.

Click import

Step 12: Review the import for any errors.

The system will validate the file, including looking for duplicates. If any errors occur the review page will show you what the problem areas are (e.g. incomplete email, etc.). If necessary you can then correct the csv file and re-upload it.

If you are satisfied with the upload, click the Import these participants button at the bottom.

Once the process is complete you’ll see all the records which were imported successfully on your Participants page.


Find out more about using Poll Everywhere to delight your audience, class, or colleagues.