Tech Tip: Uploading an Excel sheet to the Blackboard Grade Center

If there’s one thing in Blackboard that really frustrates a lot of faculty, it’s the Grade Center, particularly uploading an Excel spreadsheet to the Grade Center and receiving this message: “Error: the following usernames are invalid.”

The problem is that Excel converts student user IDs (aka the 20-digit Username) to scientific notation, and when you convert them back into text, Excel adds zeroes, so when you upload the grades, Blackboard doesn’t recognize the user IDs.

The solution involves running Excel’s Text Import Wizard.

Screenshot of Excel's Data and Import Text tabs, Windows version

Screenshot of Excel’s Data and Import Text tabs, Windows version

screenshot step 3 of Text Format Wizard

Screenshot of the Wizard’s 3rd screen, Windows version

Screenshot of Excel's Text Import Wizard, step 3, Mac version

Screenshot of the Wizard’s 3rd screen, Mac version

Instructions for Windows

  1. If you already have the file open, you can run the Text Import Wizard from the Data tab.
  2. Click “Get External Data” (leftmost group if you’re using Excel 2007).
  3. Click “From Text”.  It’s a little easier to run the Text Import Wizard when you open the file, but this only works when you start Excel and then open the file — which automatically launches the Text Import Wizard for the file.
  4. On the 3rd screen of the wizard, you can select the Username column and designate it as “Text”, which leaves it intact.

Instructions for Mac
The Text Import Wizard should launch when you open an Excel file. In the 3rd screen, highlight the Username column and convert numeric values to Text (click Text under Column data format).

Additional instructions for Windows:


Spam prevention powered by Akismet