Import a spreadsheet

This tutorial shows how to create a Silk by importing a spreadsheet and then building visualizations.

Here is a video explaining all the steps:

Preparing your spreadsheet for import into Silk#

Silk’s importer accepts CSV files (a text-based spreadsheet format), Microsoft Excel files, and spreadsheets created with Google Sheets.

Below are some basic guidelines. For more detailed instructions, read Prepare your spreadsheet for import into Silk.

  • Make sure there are no merged cells on your spreadsheet or empty rows.
  • Silk cannot recognize columns with the first row left blank. The first row holds names for each column. Pick short, descriptive column names.
  • Select one of the columns to supply the titles for your Silk datacards. Ideally, each row will have a unique value (number, name, etc).

Import your spreadsheet#

Go to the dashboard by clicking the ‘Dashboard’ tab. If you have more than one Silk, make sure you are on the dashbord of the Silk where you intend to import data.

You can also create a new Silk by clicking on the ▼ symbol next to your Silk name (on the top left of the page) and then clicking ‘Create new Silk’. Now, import the data:

  1. Find the ‘Add a new collection’ menu at the bottom of your screen. To upload a CSV or Excel file, click on the ‘Upload Spreadsheet’ box. Drag the file you wish to upload into the drop box. You can also click on the box to search for files to import.
  2. To upload a Google Sheet, set its sharing settings to ‘Anyone with the link can edit’. Copy the Sheet’s URL into your clipboard. In your dashboard, click the ‘Google Sheet’ box, and paste in the URL.
  3. You can also copy the data in your spreadsheet program and paste it into Silk.
  4. Use the Extract Data From a Website button to directly get data from a website (powered by

Need inspiration? Click the ‘Use sample dataset’ link. Then select from a variety of Google Sheets that Silk has formatted for import.

Select one of the import options in your dashboard.


After you click ‘Import’, you will get a preview of how your datacards will appear in Silk.

The preview screen lets you:

  1. Browse through the datacards by clicking the arrows.
  2. Select which column you want to use as the datacard title.
  3. Use the pencil icon to change the name of the collection these datacards will go into. Collections hold together related datacards on a Silk. We used ‘Headphone Name’ in this example.
  4. Start or cancel the import.

Editing options#

You can change the order of the facts by dragging and dropping them. You can also rename columns by clicking on their names. (In Silk, columns that are not datacard titles are called tags).

Click on the gear icons to change how Silk will import your facts.

There is a detailed explanation of all the gear icon options at the end of this tutorial.

Import and visualize#

Now we'll import the spreadsheet and build visualizations:

  • Click ‘Start Import’. When your import is completed, Silk will analyze your data and then suggest a visualization in the ‘Explore’ tab.
  • Customize the visualization by adding or removing tags, or adding inline filters. (Further editing options can be found by clicking the ‘More Options’ button.)
  • Save the visualization to your Silk’s home page by clicking the green ‘Publish this visualization’ button.
  • Edit your home page and click the ‘+’ anywhere on the home page to add more visualizations, text, images, or other media.
  • Click the ‘Explore’ tab again create more visualizations.

Advanced importer options#

  1. Use as fact. This is the default option.
  2. Link to datacard. Link to a datacard with the same name.
  3. Use as external link. Turn URLs into clickable links.
  4. Use as image. If you have URLs pointing to images, use this to display the image on your datacards.
  5. Use as paragraph. Displays the value as a normal paragraph on your datacard.
  6. Use as title. Use this fact as the title for your datacards.
  7. Ignore. Use this to not import a tag.
  8. Split on commas. If a value has multiple values separated by commas (e.g. the value of a Cuisine tag is vegetarian, Mexican, fusion), you can use this tosplit them into separate values.
  9. Split on other characters. Same as split on comma's, but let's you specify another delimiter (like a dash or star).
  10. Image options (click the image icon). If you have images, you can choose where they will appear using the camera icon.
  11. Link text options (click the link icon). Use this to create a fact that links to an external URL.