How to Prepare A Spreadsheet for Import to MailChimp

The thing about building a strong email list is that there are no shortcuts. You have to be prepared to put in the work required to build your audience online. You can either do it by organic means through content creation, or you can pay for advertising. Sometimes both together work well.

There are a few different ways to import contacts to Mailchimp, but a file upload is the most common method. The file import process has two parts: First, you’ll prepare your spreadsheet of contacts outside of Mailchimp, and save it as a CSV file. Next, you’ll use MailChimp’s import tool to add your contacts.

Now let us walk you through on how to prepare a CSV file for import.


Prepare A Spreadsheet for Import to MailChimp

In preparing a CSV file, you can either use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Since both have similarities but Google Sheets is free to use, then we will be using google sheets for this tutorial.

1. To access Google Sheets, you can go to and start a new spreadsheet.


2. On your blank spreadsheet, please be advised that the first row is always the label of the column. 

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3. MailChimp requires that you need to have an email address label before you can import contacts to them. So this is where you will be placing your label. For this example, we will have an Email Address, First Name, Last Name, Company, and Source as the labels for the columns.


4. Add the data for each column.


5. Once you have all your data ready, we need to export this to a CSV file. Click the File tab on the top right and hover your mouse to the Download as and select “Comma Separated Values or CSV current sheet. Please be advised that it will only save a CSV file of the current sheet. If you have multiple sheets then you need to do the same process again to the other sheets.

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6. Choose the location on where you will be saving the file and click Save.


7. Now that you have your CSV file ready, we will upload this to your MailChimp account. Login to your MailChimp account at


8. Click the Audience tab on top.

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9. On the Audience Page, click the Manage Audience drop-down and select import contact.


10. Select CSV or tab-delimited text file and click Continue to Setup.


11. On the next page, click the browse and look for the CSV file that you will be uploading and click Continue to Match.


12. The next page is the matching process. Among all of the labels, only the Source is unmatched. We need to match this.

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  • Just click the Edit link of the unmatched column and click the Make a Selection drop-down and select Create a new field.
  • Make sure that the label is in there and click the gray Save button twice.
  • After all of the labels are matched, click the Continue to Organize.


13. Add a new tag or choose from the existing tags.

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14. Also, choose the status of your contacts and it is up to you if you want to check the Update Existing Contacts. Just click the Continue to Review once finished.


15. Review everything on the summary. If you don’t have anything to edit at all, then click the Import button.

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You should see a green callout with the number of new contacts added. The new contacts are also added on the list.



Want us to walk you through it? Watch the video here!





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