How to create a CSV file to send manual review invites

To send out review invites with the Review Collector, you need a CSV file. In this article you will learn what a CSV file is and how to format it correctly.

A CSV file is a text file. It is used to transfer raw datasets between software programs. The data entries within a CSV file are separated by semicolons or commas (CSV = "comma separated values"). The CSV format is often used when importing or exporting datasets from databases or tables. In our case it is used to transfer your customers' data into eTrusted to enable you to send invites.

How to format the CSV file

To format the CSV file correctly, there are a couple of things you need to make sure:

  • Download the template from the Review Collector or create your own CSV file.
  • The first row must contain the column headings: "email" and "reference" which are mandatory as well as “firstName" and "lastName" which are optional.
  • The information in the rows must be separated with semicolons. This is not displayed in Excel, for example. Therefore click "open with" and select the text editor of your PC.
  • You must NOT put a semicolon at the end of a line.
  • The file must contain data for the columns "email" and "reference". We also recommend adding data for the columns "firstName" and "lastName" so it is easier to proofread the list of invites on the preview page.
  • Only use one row per customer dataset. The data must not be mixed.
  • Double check that all special characters (e.g. Umlaute) are readable and encoded correctly. See below.
  • Make sure that there are no empty lines between the heading row and the customer data rows.
  • Due to technical reasons, only English terms can be used.
  • When saving the file e.g. from Excel, do not simply change the file extension to ".csv" afterwards. Instead, select "Save As" in the program that you are using and choose "csv" ("comma separated values") as the file extension then save.
Excel formatting errors

If your customers' names include special characters (e.g. Umlaute like ä, ü, ö), the Review Collector will replace them with a � symbol. Therefore, your customers' names will also appear with the � symbol on your review profile. This issue is caused by Excel and will occur in different systems, including:

  • Office 2011 for Windows 7
  • Office 2011 for Windows 10
  • Office 2016 for Mac

In the following cases the special characters will be formatted correctly:

  • You are using Office 2016 and you have saved your file as "CSV UTF-8 (comma-separated values) (*.csv).
  • You are using Google Docs.
  • You are using Open Office.

If your customers' email addresses contain special characters (e.g. Umlaute) the email addresses will not be recognised upon uploading the CSV file. You cannot send review invites to such email addresses via CSV file upload.

Are you still unsure?

If you are still unsure, then another way to create a CSV file is to use a text editor.

  1. Open the file in a text editor. It should look like this:
email; reference; firstName; lastName
your.customer@email.com; ordernr-123456; John; Doe
ihr.kunde@email.com; bestellnr-123456; Max; Mustermann
  1. If you leave out a data entry that can be found in the heading (e.g. if you do not know the first name of a customer), then add TWO more semicolons to show this (see line 3):
email; reference; firstName; lastName
your.customer@email.com; ordernr-123456; John; Doe
ihr.kunde@email.com; bestellnr-123456;; Mustermann

The file still cannot be uploaded? Then write an email to members@trustedshops.com and attach a copy of the file you're trying to upload so we can check it for you.


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