Import a CSV file in AdWords Editor

Prepare a CSV file

Importing a CSV file enables you to add or change many items in your AdWords account at once. To help ensure a successful import, review the formatting guidelines below.

1. List each item on its own row.

Each row in your CSV file must describe a single entity, such as a campaign, a targeted location, or an ad. In the following example, the first row is the header, the next two lines are keywords, and the last two lines are ad text.

Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword, Headline, ...
My campaign, My ad group, keyword 1
My campaign, My ad group, keyword 2
My campaign, My ad group, [blank], headline 1, ...
My campaign, My ad group, [blank], headline 2, ...

For a simple example, refer to this sample CSV file.

If you need to make only minor changes or additions to the account, you might choose to export a CSV file from AdWords Editor, edit it, then import it back into AdWords Editor.

2. Include a column header row.

AdWords Editor treats the first row in an imported CSV file as a column header row. Choose one of the following options for your CSV column header row:

  • Option 1 (recommended): Include standard AdWords Editor column headers. In the next article in this guide, you'll see a list of CSV columns.
  • Option 2: Use your own column headers, or leave the first row blank. You'll have an opportunity to select or modify the column headers when you import the CSV file.

3. Check formatting within columns.

Some columns require certain formatting. For example, specific language codes indicate language targeting. In the next article in this guide, you'll see a list of CSV columns, including special instructions for column formatting.

If a single cell in a column has multiple values, separate the values with semicolons, such as en;de for English and German language targeting, or gender;age for flexible reach.

If you import a new campaign via CSV import, and the settings aren't readable, AdWords Editor uses the default campaign settings.

4. Check the file format and encoding

Be sure to save your file in CSV format.

AdWords Editor doesn't import XLS files. If you create or edit your file in Excel, we recommend saving the file with Unicode Text encoding.

  • Windows: Select Save As > Save as type > Unicode Text.
  • Mac: Select Save As > Format > UTF-16 Unicode Text. (You might see the file extension change from .csv to .txt, but AdWords Editor can still import the file.)
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