Create a file to import your contacts

When importing your contacts to Brevo, certain data, such as email addresses and phone numbers, need to be in a specific format to be imported correctly. Therefore, before importing your contacts, we recommend following this article to properly set up the file that contains your contacts' information.

๐Ÿ“‚ File requirements

  • There is no limit on the number of contacts you can import at once. However, your file should not exceed 250MB. If your file exceeds this limit, split it into smaller files that you will import separately.
  • Include only one sheet in your file.
  • Save your file in one of the following formats and make sure the separator is either a semicolon, a comma, or a tab:

(Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc, Google Sheets, Numbers)

(Microsoft Excel open format)

(Microsoft Notepad)

  • Save your file with UTF-8 or Windows-1252 encoding.ย These types of file encoding allow for reading the content of your file when it contains special characters.

๐Ÿ› ๏ธ Create your file

In this article, for illustration purposes, we will create a .CSV file from scratch to import contacts with default and custom attributes for a yoga instructor. You can easily adapt this use case to your needs by following the requirements and guidelines provided in this article.

Step 1: Set up your file with contact attributes

  1. Open your spreadsheet program (Excel, Google Sheets) to create a new file. You have 3 options to get started:
  2. In the header row of your file, add the information you want to import about your contacts. Each cell represents a piece of information that will be mapped to a Brevo contact attribute and imported.
    In our example, we added default attributes like EMAIL or FIRSTNAME, but also included custom attributes about the yoga classes (FIRST_CLASS, LEVEL, FREE_TRIAL).ย 
    Use the tabs below to understand more about all the available contact attributes โฌ‡๏ธ
    Default contact attributes Custom contact attributes

    By default, some contact attributes are automatically created by Brevo. They require a specific format to be imported correctly:


    The CONTACT_ID attribute is automatically created by Brevo when you import your contacts. It is a fixed number that cannot be changed. You can only retrieve the contact ID of your contacts by exporting them from Brevo. We recommend including the CONTACT_ID attribute in your file only if you want to update your existing contacts through an import.



    To import the first name and last name of your contacts, use the FIRSTNAME and LASTNAMEย contact attributes.


    โœ‰๏ธ EMAIL

    To import the email address of your contacts, use the EMAIL contact attribute.


    ๐Ÿ’ก Good to know
    Contacts can have the same phone number for SMS, WhatsApp, and Phone. Separate blocklists are used when a contact unsubscribes from SMS, WhatsApp, or Phone.

    To import the phone number of a contact, use the following default contact attributes as your column headers:

    • SMS for the phone number used for SMS messages.
    • WHATSAPP for the phone number used for WhatsApp messages.
    • LANDLINE_NUMBER for the phone number used for calls through the Phone app.

    Always include the + sign and the country code at the beginning of the phone number, and do not separate the digits by any special character.ย 


When you import your file in Brevo, you will be able to directly create new attributes. You don't necessarily need to create them beforehand.

Step 2: Add your contacts' information to the file

You can now fill up the file with your contacts' information:

  • You can copy the data from another program or an exported file, or
  • You can type it directly into the file.

Make sure that each column contains information that corresponds to the attribute in the header row of your file and that each row contains information about a single contact:


Step 3: Verify the format of your data

Now that your file contains all the data you want to import, take some time to ensure that it is correctly formatted.ย Incorrectly formatted data can result in incorrect information being imported or information not being imported at all.

For instance, here are some things we recommend you check:

  • The email address of your contacts: ensure that the email addresses in your file are valid and that they aren't missing any part.
    In our wrong example below, the email address is missing the domain suffix:
    โŒ rose@example โœ…
  • The phone number of your contacts: ensure that the phone numbers in your file include the + sign and the country code and that the digits are not separated by any special character.
    In our wrong example below, the phone number is missing the + sign and the country code, and the digits are separated by special characters:
    โŒ (337) 456-9342 โœ… +13374569342
  • The category-type contact attributes: ensure that the category-type contact attributes in your file contain the ID number of the value and not the value itself.
    In our wrong example below, the category type contact attribute contains the value instead of the ID number:
    โŒ Beginner โœ… 1
    โŒ Intermediate โœ… 2
    โŒ Expert โœ… 3

Step 4: Save your file

Once you have completed and properly formatted your file, save it in either .CSV, .XLSX, or .TXT format using UTF-8 or Windows-1252 encoding.

Use the accordions below to learn how to encode a file in UTF-8 using various spreadsheet editors โฌ‡๏ธ

โŽ Microsoft Excel
  1. Open your file in Microsoft Excel.
  2. Click File > Save As.
  3. Name your file.
  4. Select CSV UTF-8 (Comma delimited) (.csv) as the file format.
  5. Click Save.
๐Ÿ“— Google Spreadsheet
  1. Open your file in Google Spreadsheet.
  2. Click File > Download.
  3. Select Comma-separated values (.csv, current sheet) as the file format.
๐Ÿ—’๏ธ Notepad
  1. Open your file in Notepad.
  2. Click File > Save as.
  3. Name your file and add the .csv extension at the end.
  4. From the Save as type dropdown, select All files.
  5. From the Encoding dropdown, choose UTF-8.
  6. Click Save.
๐Ÿ“„ LibreOffice
  1. Open your file in LibreOffice.
  2. Click File > Save as.
  3. Name your file.
  4. From the Save as type dropdown, select Text CSV (.csv).
  5. Enable the Edit filter settings option.
  6. Click Save.
  7. In the Export Text File dialog box, select the Unicode (UTF-8) option from the Character set dropdown.
  8. Set the Field delimiter and String delimiter.
  9. Click OK.
๐Ÿ“Š Numbers
  1. Open your file in Numbers.
  2. Click File.
  3. Select Export to... > CSV....
  4. Click Advanced options.
  5. Click the Text Encoding dropdown.
  6. Select Unicode (UTF-8).
  7. Click Next.
  8. Name your file and choose a location.
  9. Click Save.

Step 5: Import your file into Brevo

It's now time to import your contacts' details into Brevo! You'll find all the details in our dedicated article Import your contacts to Brevo.

โ“ FAQs

๐Ÿค Can I associate my contacts with deals and companies?

You can associate your contacts with deals and companies by adding specific fields to your file and importing it into Brevo. To learn more, check our dedicated article Associate your companies, deals, and contacts.

๐Ÿ“ฑ The "+" sign for phone numbers disappears when I add it to my file. How can I make it stay?

If the "+" sign disappears when you add it to a phone number in your file, add an apostropheย before it. This will help your spreadsheet program recognize the number as a phone number.

๐Ÿ—’๏ธ Can I import a file that contains empty fields?

Yes, you can import a file that contains empty fields. The results will depend on what type of contacts you are importing and on the options you enable while finalizing your import:

โ“ My file contains the UTF-8 replacement character "๏ฟฝ". What will happen when I upload it?

If your contact data contains the UTF-8 replacement character "๏ฟฝ", it will be skipped and the corresponding contact attribute won't be imported into Brevo. This character can appear when exporting data from certain tools as it is used to replace unknown, unrecognized, or unrepresentable characters.

โฉ What's next?

๐Ÿค” Have a question?

If you have a question, feel free to contact our support team by creating a ticket from your account. If you don't have an account yet, you can contact us here.

If youโ€™re looking for help with a project using Brevo, we can match you with the right certified Brevo expert partner.

๐Ÿ’ฌ Was this article helpful?

51 out of 90 found this helpful