The Bulk Import Cheat Sheet

Having trouble with your Bulk Imports and don’t want to read the docs?

I have good news and bad news:

  • The good news is that this cheat sheet can help you started on the right foot. We also have a training series for submitting bulk imports in Wildbook and Codex.
  • The bad news is that you still technically have to read the docs (Wildbook | Codex). :sweat_smile: We wouldn’t have written it if it wasn’t important.

What is a Bulk Import?
A quick way to get your encounters and associated data into Wildbook or Codex using your images, and a carefully constructed .xslx file for Wildbook or copying the list of accepted fields from Codex into your spreadsheet.

Bulk Import in Wildbook is a beta feature. As a result, sometimes things might not work as expected. These tips will help reduce the likelihood of problems occurring.

What is a field (Wildbook | Codex)?
It’s a label for your data that tells the system how to interpret it. Wildbook users will need to enter the field names exactly as they appear. Codex users can use different field names than what’s provided, but will still need to choose the corresponding field name on the validation screen.

I uploaded my spreadsheet and now things are weird
For Wildbook, your spreadsheet needs to have fields for the location, date, photo, taxonomy, and submitter:

  • Location:



Latitude and longitude conversion issues from degrees to decimals are common. You must include the “-” when needed to make sure the location is correct (south of the equator or west of the meridian locations will need the hyphen).
Check that the Location ID format is an exact match with what’s in Wildbook or Codex (no trailing spaces; special characters, etc.).

  • Date:

etc. At a minimum, include the year if the encounter date is unknown.

  • Photo

Your image file names must match exactly with the files on your computer. Is the image saved on your computer in all capital letters? It must also be in your spreadsheet with all capital letters (ALLCAPS.jpg). If the JPG file extension is “.jpeg” you must include the “e” in your Excel sheet.

  • Taxonomy

This field is case-sensitive. Genus must begin with a capital letter and specific epithet must begin with a lowercase letter. The spelling must be correct otherwise the system won’t recognize it and it won’t match against anything. Note: Codex users need to use a single field for the species name.

  • Submitter


Type in your Wildbook username exactly. This field is case-sensitive. Even if you are signed in to your Wildbook account, it doesn’t automatically associate your username with your bulk import. If you don’t include this field or if you’ve typed in your username with a letter case that doesn’t match what’s in your profile ( :white_check_mark: asmith vs. :x: ASmith), your encounters will appear as “unassigned” in the system and you won’t be able to edit them. Avoid this by always including this field with your spreadsheet.

For Codex, your spreadsheet needs to have fields for Region, Time, and Time Precision.

  • Region: Must match the region as shown in the Location menu of the Report a Sighting page.
  • Time: At minimum, include the year if you don’t have any other available information on when the sighting occurred.
  • Time precision: Enter how precise the time is that you reported above. If you reported the year, month and day, enter “day” for this field. If you reported the time down to the minute, enter “minute” for this field.

Some other considerations are:

  • Your spreadsheet should have 200 encounters or less. Ideally, each import should only have 100 rows of data or less.
  • No special characters in your image file names or spreadsheet name. If it’s not a letter of the English alphabet, 0-9, space, or period, it’s a special character and may not play nice when uploaded.
  • All of your file names must be distinct. We recommend using a file name convention that starts with the date so that all of your image names are unique.
  • Some Wildbook fields are case-sensitive. Check the table to see which fields these are and enter your data accordingly.
  • Remove any unused fields from your spreadsheet before uploading it. Sometimes the Wildbook will detect an empty field and then ignore the data in other similar fields. Prevent this by cleaning up unused fields. In Codex, removing empty fields saves you time when confirming or ignoring fields on the validation page.
  • Are you using a field with a variable placeholder (X)? Make sure to replace the X with a number (0-infinity).
    :no_entry_sign: Encounter.MediaAssetX
    :white_check_mark: Encounter.MediaAsset0

The docs say I can’t do XYZ in my spreadsheet, but I’ve done it before without a problem.
Wildbook and Codex are always being improved as a result of testing and user feedback. Sometimes this means that we have to make changes to old processes to make way for new ones. We do our best to keep our docs updated to reflect the most up-to-date information on using our products. When in doubt, check the docs or post in the Community Forums for guidance.