Importing Grades into Canvas Using a Spreadsheet

Sometimes grades are collected using another source, such as i>clicker, scantron tests, and publisher websites. Or you may just prefer to organize your grades on a spreadsheet. Here is a brief overview of how to handle the import and export of spreadsheets in Canvas:

The Basics


Create a spreadsheet table in Excel (or another program) that meets the layout format Canvas expects

See below for details or just start by downloading the Canvas gradebook by navigating to Grades > Actions > Export


Save the spreadsheet file as a .csv file


Open and edit the .csv file


Go to the gradebook in Canvas and Import (Grades > Actions > Import). Follow the steps from there

The Format

There are currently 5 required columns that must be in your CSV file. They all must contain the following headers, which are case sensitive, but most columns can be left empty:

  • Student: The student’s Last Name, First Name. For example, Blue, Big
    You need at least one letter from each student’s name in this column, but for best results have the student’s full Last Name, First Name
  • ID: The student’s internal Canvas ID. You can leave this column blank.
  • SIS User ID: The student’s from Banner. You can leave this column blank.
  • SIS Login ID: In most cases, the student’s A number. You can match by this as long as you have at least part of each student’s name in the student column.
  • Section: You can leave this blank

Here’s an image, provided by Instructure, that explains the format visually.

Canvas grading spreadsheet

Demo: Sharing Spreadsheet Data Between Systems

  • Preparing spreadsheet data from other systems for import into Canvas:
    This typically involves making sure there is only one Student column (by either keeping just the last name or combining the full name under one column), then adding Canvas’s additional required columns and renaming the institution’s student ID column to SIS Login ID.
  • Preparing a Canvas gradebook CSV file for import into other systems:
    This process typically involves removing or renaming Canvas-specific columns and splitting the Student column into two columns, one for last name and one for first name, using the Excel text-to-columns tool. 

Confused? Try downloading your gradebook.

Perhaps the easiest way to get the format right is to start by first downloading your gradebook as a CSV file. Go to your gradebook and select Actions, then Export to download scores (.csv). Simply edit that file and import it.