Importer Errors: Common Messages and Next Steps

Liz Gehret -


Below we've listed the most common importer error messages, their meanings, and your next steps. This is not a complete list of errors, so feel free to reach out to Support if you have further questions!

Users File

Error Meaning Next Steps
"Attempted to update email_address from to"} You attempted to update a sensitive field value but this option was not enabled on your import job. 

Manual Imports: Select "This job changes identifier data" when creating the job.

AWS/Upload: auth_identifier and username can no longer be changed via automatic/AWS syncs. 

More info on sensitive fields can be found here.

*Please note that when a student self-registers for Handshake, their email_address and username in-app are both populated with the email address they entered during registration.

{"email_address":["can't be blank"]} 

{"username":["can't be blank"]} 

{"first_name":["can't be blank"]} 


You attempted to update or create a user but did not include an email address, username, or first_name value

Please review the required fields for student uploads here.

To create or update a student, you must always include email_address, username, and first_name for that student. 

{"auth_identifier":["has already been taken"]}}

{"card_id":["has already been taken"]}}

You attempted to create a new user but auth_identifier or card_id has already been taken by another account. 

-Ensure that you actually intend to create a new user, rather than updating an existing one.

Note: If you update email_address and username for someone at the same time, it will attempt to create a new user with the information in that row. These two fields must be updated separately for existing users. 

-This student may exist under a different user/email. Make sure to look up their record in Handshake to confirm.

{"email_address":["has already been taken"]}}:

You attempted to create a new user but the email_address exists at another institution.

-email_address must be unique to all of Handshake, so it is likely this student used the same email at another institution.

-To fix, either the student must reach out to the other institution and request an email change (to a personal address, etc), or they will need to provide you with an alternate address (such as @gmail, @hotmail, etc).

{"primary_education.end_date":["must be a date on or after primary_education:start_date"]}}  You attempted to set an end_date that was before the student's current start_date.

-primary_education:end_date should have a value of **CLEAR** rather than <blank> if you do not have a new end_date for this student.

-Set a valid end_date that is after the student's current start_date.

"exclude_from_sync":true,"errors":["User is marked as excluded from sync and cannot be updated."]} You attempted to update a user via import but they have an "Exclude from Syncs" option selected on their profile in-app.

-Verify first that you do want to manage this specific user via syncs (rather than in-app).

-Go to this user's account in Handshake, then the "Account Tab", and from here uncheck "Exclude from Automatic Syncs" about halfway down the page.

{"mobile_number":["is invalid"]}} You used a mobile number that is more or less than 10 digits

-Please only use valid domestic 10-digit phone numbers, or leave the field blank at this time.  This value is used for text message verification for the mobile application, and eventually newer features.

{email_address":["has already been taken","conflicts with another primary account"]}} There is another student account with the same email address on Handshake.

 -Add the student by email in the Manage Students tab on the Handshake app.
-If the error that student is connected to another institution shows, create an account with an alternate email address or contact Support for assistance on the connection request.


Contacts File

Error Meaning Next Steps
 {:status=>"invalid", :error_code=>"email_account_invalid", :error=>"Email account invalid", :http_status=>200, :request=>"", :valid=>false} This contact email failed validation (or test bounced/invalid email address)  -All contacts are validated during import, and any emails that bounce or are flagged as invalid will result in this error.  In these cases, you should update any addresses you can, and double-check for any typos in the address, then re-upload. 


Appointments File

Error Meaning Next Steps
"student":["can't be blank"]: An existing student with this email address was not found in Handshake. This student needs to be created in Handshake and associated with your institution prior to adding this appointment. 
"staff_member":["can't be blank"]:  An existing staff member with this email address was not found in Handshake This career services user needs to be created in Handshake and associated with your institution prior to adding this appointment. 
"time_zone":["is not included in the list"]: Erroneous Error Message.  Usually comes before student or staff_member "Can't be blank" error, but does not actually indicate an issue. Ignore this part of the error message.
"import_identifier":["has already been taken"] This import_identifier was used for another appointment in the same import file, or was used in a previous 'appointments' import.

Import_identifier has to be completely unique to a single appointment, and is later used to attach notes to the appointment (via 'Notes' file import)

Suggestions for unique identifier:

* (school)(file type)(date)(number)
** jcuappointments06272016100 
** jcuappointments06272016101 
** " " " " " "102, 103, 104, etc


Notes File

Error Meaning Next Steps
 {"Could not find identifiable"} The identifier or identifiable_id used in this row could not be matched to any existing id in Handshake.

-If using identifiable_id, make sure this is the correct ID from the URL of the event or appointment in Handshake.

-If using identifier (for previously imported events or appointments), make sure this matches the respective import_identifier from your previously imported Events or Appointments file.

-If using identifier (for users), make sure to include the user_type field, and specify 'Students' or 'Career Services'.  For users or contacts, identifier is their email_address value(user must already exist in Handshake prior to importing notes)

-Review THIS GUIDE for further detail.



CSV Format Errors (And other misc. messages)

Error Meaning Next Steps
A special character was found in your CSV file, but the file was not in UTF-8 format. Special characters are supported in imports, but your file must be saved in CSV UTF-8 format before submitting to the importer.  Please see this article for info on correcting this with manually generated files.

"This job has users with email addresses not associated with your school. These users will be skipped. If you feel this is an error and this domain belongs to your institution,please contact support."

You are attempting to import users with email_address values containing domains not listed in your importer settings.

If the email domains listed in the warning (further down the import job page) should be associated with your school, please open a new support request to add these.

If the email domain is associated with another institution, please find an alternate/personal email for these students.  These emails and domains should be managed by the respective institution (the student may have another existing account with their previous institution).

More info HERE

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