Importing users with Excel or CSV

Shortcut: Here is the user import file template.

It's one of the most frequently asked questions: How do I get my staff set up in Small Improvements? Worry not, it's simpler than you think! Just put together a spreadsheet with your staff data, save it as XLSX or CSV, then drag and drop.

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Other Considerations: 

You can add people manually through the Add Users menu. We can also pull data from any other system that can expose user data via an API in the same format described below, and we can in load users from Google Apps. For most companies though, the Excel upload is probably the easiest way.

Note: You must have Tech Admin privileges in order to use this feature. 

File Structure

First you need to create the file, following our guideline below. Then, you will drag & drop it onto our special user-import admin screen. But first, learn about the format of the file you need to create.

Download our template user import file to get you started.

If you don't use Excel, that's fine - our Import Users tool works perfectly well with any comma, semicolon or tab-delimited spreadsheet (CSV). 

Import fields

Your import file needs to contain a handful of "must-have" fields so we can set up users properly. You can also include optional information in some fields. Including this information will allow you to better sort your directory and filter cycle exports.

You can set up your own file using the list below as column headers. The columns must all be included, in this order. 

Required fields are bolded.

First Name For example "Joe"
Last Name For example "Smith"
This may be M, F, or N. We use the gender information to fill in preferred pronouns in notification emails: he/him, she/her, they/them
Title For instance "Senior Manager" or "Intern" or "CEO" or "Nerf herder" or whatever makes sense for your company.
Login Email

For example ""

The user's email address. People will use this to log in to the system, and they will receive mail from Small Improvements here. Note that this email address must be unique for each user, as Small Improvements uses the email address to unambiguously identify specific users.

Manager Email 

For example "" Note: Do not use the manager's name in this field.

We also support the use of employee IDs to reference managers. For example if you have a user John with employee id 1000, you can set this field to 1000 to set John to the manager of this user.

You can leave this field blank if the employee does not have a manager.

Department We'll assume that Department is the larger organizational unit (e.g. "Marketing", "Sales" or "Engineering").
Team Team is the more fine-grained unit, e.g. "Outbound Sales" vs "Key Accounts" vs "Social Media Marketing", which could all exist within a single department.
Location Could for instance be the city, e.g. "Berlin" or "San Francisco", or a more fine-grained office location ("Building 3", or "Floor 15") if your offices are scattered throughout a single city.
Employee ID A unique identifying number for each employee. 
Hiring Date Provide it in the format MM/DD/YY or YYYY-MM-DD.
Alternative Email If this field is filled in, we'll send notification emails to this address, instead of the login address.
Secondary Reviewer Another person who can contribute to a performance review. 
Preferred name  If this field is filled in, we’ll display this name instead of the one in the First Name field.

Leaving date Provide it in the format MM/DD/YY or YYYY-MM-DD.

Configuration Options

There are some configuration options to be aware of when importing, from the configuration tab within the import users screen. 

Overview of these options: 

  • Update existing user core fields (except manager relationship) 

    This setting indicates whether existing users in Small Improvements should be updated with information from the import data. The data is matched based on email address. Enabling this does not affect manager relationships of existing users. Note: by default, you cannot update employee IDs through import. Please contact the support team to enable.

  • Update managers of existing users 

    This setting indicates whether existing users in Small Improvements should have their managers updated based on the given managers from the import data.

  • Set managers of newly imported users 

    This setting indicates whether new users imported to Small Improvements should have their managers imported.

  • Send password emails for new users imported
    Password emails can be sent automatically for any new users that you import. (You can also decide to send emails manually after the import. More info: How to inform staff about their accounts)
  • Deactivate all Small Improvement accounts not imported 

    This setting controls whether user accounts will be deactivated if they do not appear in the imported accounts. This allows you to deactivate users in bulk. Warning: if you enable this option, it could cause your administration account to become inaccessible! 

  • Reactivate accounts in Small Improvements 
    This setting controls whether deactivated user accounts will be reactivated if the corresponding account is imported. If a user account has been deleted, it will automatically be recreated through an import file.
  • CSV Delimiter 
    Allows you to set a field delimiter other than comma. You can use this if your import file is delimited by a semi-colon (European Excel) or Tab.

File Upload

If you made it this far - Congratulations, you can now upload your file into Small Improvements on the User Import screen! Just drag and drop the file to preview the import. 

Updating Users through Import

If you rename a department or move office locations, it can be a pain to update every user profile one by one. Instead, you can import a file to update many user accounts at once. 

Start with the same user import file template you used to add new account members. The user's email address is required, and you'll need to have information in the First Name field (though it can be an updated first name). Enter any updated information, and leave the unchanged fields blank. Note: by default, you cannot update employee IDs through import. Please contact the support team to enable.

Note about updating managers through import: If you are not updating managers, make sure "Update existing user core fields (except manager relationship)" is enabled. This setting will prevent the Manager field from being cleared if the field is left empty in the import file. If you are updating managers, you can uncheck that field. 

When your import file is ready, go ahead and upload it. Take a look at the preview to make sure everything is correct. New information is highlighted in green, updated information is highlighted in blue.

Typical Problems and Error Cases

There are some common problems to watch out for:

  • Excel "noise": Occasionally Excel files can have bits of data that you can see with a quick scan of the eyes, especially if you are copying and pasting from another source. If you run into an error where the system is telling you there are "too many columns", yet you don't see any additional column then the ones we use on the template, you probably have a noise problem.
    • Try: Tabbing over to the last column that you see data in, then the next column over (which looks blank), highlight the whole thing plus roughly 10-20 more blank columns to the right, then delete, save the file, try re-uploading. 
  • Manager's name instead of email: This is the classic mistake. For each employee we need their manager's email address or employee ID, not the manager's name. 
  • Using inconsistent email addresses: A typical problem is that a Joe Smith has an email address of "", but his 5 reports are listed as reporting to "". Our system cannot know it's the same person, and thus these 5 people end up with no manager. Please ensure that matching email addresses are used consistently. Double check people who joined the company early on, and who might have more than one email address.
  • Using a less common domain: Some of our customers have more than one email domain, so staff can be reached at and at, for instance. Now if you import the less common form, you'll likely have more people trying the other one, not being able to log in, and thus reporting back that the system doesn't let them in.

Profile Pictures

Profile pictures cannot currently be uploaded as part of the file. So by default, we set up all users to be represented by the initials of their names. Your staff can upload their own pictures through their profile page.

You can also have your IT team set up an image server. The best solution will be if IT can set up a web server that delivers an image when prompted. Small Improvements would then simply load a user's image from your intranet image server. Learn more about setting up an image server.

Get In Touch

It might be a little tough to import users the first time - perhaps some data is missing, or a manager's email address has two variants that are used inconsistently ("" vs ""), or some manager does not exist at all (making it impossible to set them as someone else's manager). If you are having any trouble at all, please get in touch with our support team - we are more than happy to help you through the process and make sure your users get imported quickly and correctly.

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