Common messages using the Spreadsheet Data Loader

Updated 3 months ago by Phil Vu

Here at PolicyMap, we know that a file for a dataset is usually never perfect. There will always be a bit of adjusting and tinkering of data involved to make sure the file is ready to be processed and geocoded. The PolicyMap Spreadsheet Data Loader was built to be easy enough for anyone to use, but we have also created a set of rules to make sure the files work consistently.

Before you start loading a file, make sure to read our tips on setting up your data file and some of the common errors users face when geocoding.

These are some of the error messages users might receive when loading a file and some suggestions of what to fix to make the data file upload successfully. Users will see these errors after selecting the data file and clicking the “Import Spreadsheet” button.

– Check to ensure the CSV is properly formatted

Solution: Please ensure your file is in a CSV (Comma Separated Value) format and ends in “.csv”. Only CSVs are accepted for upload. All excel files can be easily converted to a CSV file. Just select Save As in the excel and choose CSV (Comma delimited).

– Check to ensure the CSV contains at least 3 columns

Solution: Make sure there are 3 columns with column headers in the file. For example, if your file just has two columns with latitude and longitudes, add an additional column and column header even if there is no data for the column.

– Check to ensure the CSV contains at least 2 rows

Solution: Datasets must have at least one row for headers and one row of data.

– Check to ensure the CSV doesn’t exceed the maximum number of columns (45)

Solution: Including the columns used for geocoding (e.g. Address, City, State, Zip Code or Latitude and Longitude), the spreadsheet can only have up to 45 columns. Remove columns and data for each column to meet the limit.

– Check to ensure the CSV doesn’t exceed the maximum number of rows (5,000)

Solution: The Data Loader has a limit of uploading 5,000 addresses (and 1, including the header) per file. If the file has more than 5,001 rows, break the data file into multiple CSVs and upload separately. Please note, files with more than 3000 addresses will take more time to process, re-open, and close. Be patient.

– Check to ensure the CSV doesn’t contain any duplicate header names

Solution: Make sure header titles are not repeated in the spreadsheet. If this occurs, delete or rename any duplicate headers.

– Check to ensure the CSV doesn’t have any blank header names

Solution: All columns with data must have a header title. Make sure there are no blank headers in columns with data.

– Check each header to ensure that it doesn’t exceed the maximum characters (50)

Solution: Header titles can only be 50 characters in length including spaces. Edit any header that exceeds this limit. If titles have a lengthy description, try to use abbreviations to shorten the title.

– Check each value in the CSV to ensure that it doesn’t exceed the maximum characters (250)

Solution: With the exception of the header, each field has a maximum limit of 250 characters including spaces. The error message will list which row with the field exceeds the limit, find the row on your filed and edit. If a field is used as a description or contains a lot of needed data, try adding an additional column and extending the data/text into the new column (make sure you have a header and title for the extra column).


The above error messages are meant to make sure the uploading of your datasets go smoothly. If you continue to run into a problem loading a dataset and have exhausted steps in correcting your file, please contact our Technical Support team (info@policymap.com) or call us at (866) 923-MAPS.


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