Errors with the import process


Are you taken to a blank screen which just says import/export report? 

Here is a list of the most common problems when importing employee data:

Case sensitive fields

The import spread sheet is sensitive to upper case and lower case letters. The guidance notes state how certain fields should be populated. For example - the current status of an employee must have a capital 'C' for Current and all lower case for employee: Current employee (this one catches quite a few users out!)

Employees already in the system

You can't use the import spread sheet to update details of employees who are already in the system. This includes the admin user of the account. If you set up the system you would have been automatically added to the system as an employee and therefore your information should not appear on the import spread sheet. You will need to manually enter the rest of your own data. The email address has to be unique so employees can't be in more than one system nor can a generic email which more than one person is using be entered i.e can't be used for more than one employee.

Required fields

The first name, last name and email address fields are required for all employees. If these haven't been filled in for all employees - the import won't work.

Too many employees

If you are on the starter plan which allows for up to a maximum of 20 employees but you are trying to import 36 employees - the import process won't work. To check the plan you are - go to settings > account settings > change plan

Old version of the import spread sheet

When we make enhancements to the system - the import spread sheet is sometimes tweaked too. If you have downloaded and saved a copy of the spread sheet and populated it and then try and import but find it doesn't work - you should try downloading the spread sheet again from your breatheHR account and populating the new spread sheet with your data. 

File save type

The spreadsheet needs to be saved as excel workbook 97-2003. 

Attached to this article is an example of a spreadsheet that would upload correctly into the system. The required fields are highlighted in yellow.

If you've read over the guidance notes and tried the above - feel free to send over your import spread sheet to our support guys. It sometimes helps to have a fresh set of eyes taking a look! Send your spread sheet to


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