How to deploy School Data Sync by using CSV files

How to deploy School Data Sync by using CSV files


Applies To: Office 365 Admin

Note: This topic is pre-release documentation and is subject to change in future releases.

You can use Comma Separated Value (CSV) files with School Data Sync (SDS) to import and synchronize your Student Information System’s (SIS) student, teacher, school, section, and roster information with Office 365. If you use this sync method, you'll need to create six separate CSV files first, to set up the synchronization profile. After you create the files, you upload them into School Data Sync. (If you have a PowerSchool SIS you also have the option to synchronize the information by using PowerSchool SDS Sync.)

In this topic:  

Before you get started

Before you start synchronizing with SDS using CSV Import, read the Overview of School Data Sync and Classroom.

To help with the process, you can install the Microsoft School Data Sync Toolkit. This tool helps you to add and update your users that are synced between SIS and Office 365, and can also be used to verify the CSV file data. For details, see Install the Microsoft School Data Sync Toolkit.

Make sure you meet the following prerequisites:

  • Your Office 365 tenant must be an Office 365 Education tenant.

  • Synced identities must be licensed for SharePoint Online and Exchange Online. Skype for Business licenses aren't required. Note that OneDrive for Business is provided through the SharePoint Online license.

    If a student or teacher doesn't have the required licenses in Office 365, School Data Sync will still create their profile, but Classroom will not finish provisioning properly for them for any apps they aren't licensed to use.

  • If you're not deploying or utilizing a tenant with synced identities, you can create new cloud identities for teachers and students, and license them for services through SDS.

  • The CSV files that you create must not contain any characters shown in this list of invalid characters.

If you are configuring School Data Sync for a tenant which is synchronized from On Premise Active Directory through AADConnect, you may notice an increase in the number of Disconnectors shown in your miisclient. This is a result of Office 365 Group being unable to synchronize back to the AADConnect Metaverse and On Premise Active Directory. These warnings do not have any negative impact on your current AADConnect deployment, and only provide an informational note on the resultant sync failure. You should expect these warnings in AADConnect after enabling sync in SDS, as one O365 Group is created for each class synchronized through SDS.

Import your CSV files to create your profile

Watch the video: Deploy School Data Sync

Make sure you've created your six CSV files and they're ready to use. Then follow these steps to import the files and create your profile.

  1. In your web browser, go to sds.microsoft.com, and sign in using global admin credentials for your Office 365 Education tenant .

  2. If this is your first time signing in and setting up a profile, choose Set up School Data Sync to create your first sync profile.

    Choose Set up SIS Sync

    After you've completed School Data Sync setup, choose Add Profile to create an additional sync profile.

    Choose Add Profile
  3. Type a profile name in the Enter a name for your profile box.

    Enter a name for your profile
  4. In the Data Extraction section, select CSV Files in the drop-down.

    Select CSV files from the Select data source drop-down
  5. In the Data Extraction section, select either Create new users or Sync existing users radio button.

    Choose either Create new users or Sync existing users
    • Create new users Select this option if you are not syncing identities from your on premise Active Directory, or the users in scope for sync are not created within Azure AD already. This option will create new user accounts for users within the student and teacher CSV Files.

    • Sync existing users Select this option if you are syncing identities from your on premise Active Directory, or the users in scope for sync are already created in Azure AD. This option will not create new user accounts for users within the student and teacher CSV Files.

  6. If you selected the Create new users option, skip this step. If you selected the Sync existing users option, select the appropriate Students and Teachers Identity match options from the available drop-down menu. This is where you must define how to match the users listed within each CSV to the user account in Azure AD.

    • Identity Matching Options - Students

      Identity matching options for students

      Select source property this drop-down menu allows you to select the source property within the student csv file to be used for Identity Matching. Watch the Identity Matching video to review how source, target, and append domain matching logic works, to help determine the appropriate value to select.

      • Secondary Email optional attribute field which can be included for sync and may also be used for identity matching. The appropriate formatting for this attribute is a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters, followed by an @ symbol, followed by a domain suffix (i.e. JohnSmith@contoso.com).

      • Student Number optional attribute field which can be included for sync and also may be used for identity matching. The appropriate formatting for this attribute is a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters (i.e. 1234567).

      • Username required attribute field which must be included for sync and can be used for identity matching. The appropriate formatting for this attribute is either a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters (i.e. JohnSmith), or could also be included as a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters, followed by an @ symbol, followed by a domain suffix. (i.e. JohnSmith@contoso.com).

      Select suffix this drop-down menu allows you to append a domain suffix to the source property contained within the student csv file, if needed to complete your identity matching plan. This menu also allows you to select the No Suffix Needed option if the source attribute already contains the required domain suffix (i.e. Username with domain suffix included) or the target attribute value does not include a domain suffix (i.e. mailNickname). Each domain added to the Office 365 tenant will be displayed in the drop-down menu as an available choice, in addition to the No Suffix Needed option previously mentioned. Watch the Identity Matching video to review how source, target, and append domain matching logic works, to help determine the appropriate value to select

      Select target property this drop-down menu allows you to select the target property within Azure AD to be used for Identity Matching. Watch the Identity Matching video to review how source, target, and append suffix matching logic works, to help determine the appropriate value to select.

      • UserPrincipalName the logon name for the user. The appropriate formatting for this attribute is a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters, followed by an @ symbol, followed by a domain suffix (i.e. JohnSmith@contoso.com).

      • Mail the PrimarySMTPAddress of the user. The appropriate formatting for this attribute is a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters, followed by an @ symbol, followed by a domain suffix (i.e. JohnSmith@contoso.com). While it is suggested, this attribute is not always the same as the UserPrincipalName attribute.

      • mailNickname the Exchange Alias of the user. The appropriate formatting for this attribute is a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters (i.e. 1234567). While it is recommended, this value is not always unique, so be cautious in selecting this attribute for identity matching and ensure you are always matching to a unique target value.

      Student Identity Matching Matrix:

      In order to match source and target identities, you must select one value from the 3 choices available in the Select Source drop-down menu, and then define which of the 3 available target attributes in the Select Target drop-down menu will be an exact match. It is also possible that the source attribute only matches a portion of the target attribute, and requires a domain suffix to be appended to complete the matching logic (i.e. JohnSmith source attribute + @contoso.com domain suffix = a match with JohnSmith@contoso.com target attribute). Watch the Identity Matching video to learn about SDS data sync identity matching.

    • Identity Matching Options - Teachers

      Identity matching options for teachers drop-down

    Select source property this drop-down menu allows you to select the source property within the teacher csv file to be used for Identity Matching. Watch the Identity Matching video to review how source, target, and append domain matching logic works, to help determine the appropriate value to select.

    • Secondary Email optional attribute field which can be included for sync and may also be used for identity matching. The appropriate formatting for this attribute is a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters, followed by an @ symbol, followed by a domain suffix (i.e. JohnSmith@contoso.com).

    • Teacher Number optional attribute field which can be included for sync and also may be used for identity matching. The appropriate formatting for this attribute is a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters (i.e. 1234567).

    • Username required attribute field which must be included for sync and can be used for identity matching. The appropriate formatting for this attribute is either a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters (i.e. JohnSmith), or could also be included as a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters, followed by an @ symbol, followed by a domain suffix. (i.e. JohnSmith@contoso.com).

    Select suffix this drop-down menu allows you to append a domain suffix to the source property contained within the teacher csv file, if needed to complete your identity matching plan. This menu also allows you to select the No Suffix Needed option if the source attribute already contains the required domain suffix (i.e. Username with domain suffix included) or the target attribute value does not include a domain suffix (i.e. mailNickname). Each domain added to the Office 365 tenant will be displayed in the drop-down menu as an available choice, in addition to the No Suffix Needed option previously mentioned. Watch the Identity Matching video to review how source, target, and append domain matching logic works, to help determine the appropriate value to select

    Select target property this drop-down menu allows you to select the target property within Azure AD to be used for Identity Matching. Watch the Identity Matching video to review how source, target, and append suffix matching logic works, to help determine the appropriate value to select

    • UserPrincipalName the logon name for the user. The appropriate formatting for this attribute is a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters, followed by an @ symbol, followed by a domain suffix (i.e. JohnSmith@contoso.com).

    • Mail the PrimarySMTPAddress of the user. The appropriate formatting for this attribute is a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters, followed by an @ symbol, followed by a domain suffix (i.e. JohnSmith@contoso.com). While it is suggested, this attribute is not always the same as the UserPrincipalName attribute.

    • mailNickname the Exchange Alias of the user. The appropriate formatting for this attribute is a string of alpha numeric characters with no spaces or invalid special characters (i.e. 1234567). While it is recommended, this value is not always unique, so be cautious in selecting this attribute for identity matching and ensure you are always matching to a unique target value.

    Teacher Identity Matching Matrix

    In order to match source and target identities, you must select one value from the 3 choices available in the Select Source drop-down menu, and then define which of the 3 available target attributes in the Select Target drop-down menu will be an exact match. It is also possible that the source attribute only matches a portion of the target attribute, and requires a domain suffix to be appended to complete the matching logic (i.e. JohnSmith source attribute + @contoso.com domain suffix = a match with JohnSmith@contoso.com target attribute). Watch the Identity Matching video for various examples of matching logic success and failure for sync.

  7. Once the Profile Name, Data Extraction Options, and Identity Matching Options are set in place, choose Next.

  8. On the Directory Options page, select the appropriate domain for each drop down list available. If you selected the Sync existing users option in step 5, you will only need to select the appropriate domain for Schools and Sections, since all existing students and teachers already have domains associated with their respective user accounts. This domain will be used as the domain suffix for the Office 365 Group created for each section, unless policy is in place to override this domain setting.

    Directory options when syncing existing users

    If you selected the Create new users option in step 5, you will need to select the appropriate domain for Schools and Sections, in addition to a domain for teachers, and a domain for students, as shown below. This domain will be used as the domain suffix for the user account created by SDS, for each user included in the student and teacher csv files.

    Only one domain can be entered for teachers, and one domain for students within a single sync profile. If you have objects of those types which must be spread across multiple domains, you'll have to create a separate profile for each set of users (1 sync profile per domain).

    Directory options when syncing new users
  9. If you selected the Create new users option in step 5, you also must select the appropriate SKU to assign to each of the newly created Teachers and Students using the dropdown menus shown below. Each available SKU in your Office 365 tenant will be present in the list. Once selected for each user type, choose Next.

    Select the Office 365 SKU assigned to teachers and students
  10. On the Select Properties to Sync page, select each of the attributes you plan to sync (required and optional) for each CSV file. Each attribute selected on this page should correlate to each attribute header field included in your CSV files. CSV files for School Data Sync details the required attributes (in grey) and optional attributes available for sync, and the formatting requirements for each CSV file. Once all of the appropriate attributes are selected on this page, choose Next.

    Select properties to sync
  11. On the Summary page, choose Submit to create the profile.

  12. Under the Profile Collection section of the SDS Portal, select the profile you just created.

  13. Choose Upload Files so you can choose and upload your CSV files. Choose Upload Files

  14. Choose Add Files to select your CSV files to upload, and then choose Upload.

    Selelct your CSV files and then choose Upload

    During the upload process, the CSV files will be validated. If there are errors, they'll be listed so you can correct them and try again.

  15. Once the files are uploaded select the Enable Sync option to begin syncing the CSV data to Azure AD.

Video: How to match source and target attributes for sync

For various examples of matching logic success and failure for sync, watch the Identity Matching video:

Object updates

After your first sync, data within your SIS will inevitably change. The change may be related to a student, teacher, section, or any of the other attributes and objects types configured with School Data Sync. Some changes may occur on a daily basis. In order for changes in the SIS to be reflected in School Data Sync and Classroom, the data needs to be updated through the sync process.

Roster based membership updates

The section membership is defined by the roster. Student rosters are defined in the StudentEnrollment.csv, and teacher rosters are defined in the TeacherRoster.csv. Sync will keep the section membership updated based on these roster files. Whenever users are removed from their roster file, Sync will remove the user from the corresponding section (group) and school (administrative unit). Sync calculates the differences by comparing the new roster file with a previous version of the same file. The following figures explain this process.

Initial sync:  

Initial sync with the CSV files
  1. New Profile is created in the SIS portal.

  2. Initial set of CSV files are uploaded.

  3. Sync validates and stores these files.

  4. The data from these files is synchronized with Azure Active Directory.

  5. Once all data has been synchronized, a copy of the teacherroster.csv and studentenrollment.csv files are saved.

Subsequent syncs:  

Subsequent syncs with CSV files
  1. New studentenrollment.csv and teacherroster.csv files are uploaded.

  2. Sync saves the files.

  3. During the synchronization, the data between the existing set of files (from step #5 of the initial sync) are compared to the new files.

    1. If entries are added in the new set, but absent in the previous set, then these users will be added to the respective section.

    2. If entries are removed in the new set, but present in the old set, then these users will be removed from the section.

  4. After a successful sync, the new set of files overwrites the earlier files (from step# 5 Initial Sync).

Additional notes

  • No sections or schools are deleted in this sync flow, only group members and owners are updated.

  • Providing a complete roster with all current enrollments, on every upload, will ensure an updated roster across all sections.

  • If a student is deleted in the student.csv , Sync does not delete the Azure Active Directory account for that student.

  • If a teacher is deleted in the teacher.csv, Sync does not delete the Azure Active Directory account for that teacher.

  • If classes are deleted in the section.csv, Sync does not delete the Unified Group in Azure Active Directory.

  • If a new teacher is added to a class in the teacherroster.csv, that teacher is added as a group owner.


School Data Sync Deployment Guidance

  1. Overview of School Data Sync and Classroom
  2. CSV Files for School Data Sync
  3. School Data Sync required attributes for PowerSchool Sync
  4. How to deploy School Data Sync by using CSV files
  5. How to deploy School Data Sync by using PowerSchool Sync
  6. How to deploy School Data Sync using Clever Sync
  7. School Data Sync errors and troubleshooting
  8. School Data Sync - One Roster
  9. School Data Sync Toolkit
  10. My Power School Connection Fails
  11. What SISes and MISes does School Data Sync support?
  12. What is School Data Sync?
  13. What is the rostering schema?
  14. How do I deploy School Data Sync?
  15. What apps work with School Data sync?
  16. Where is School Data Sync available?
  17. How does School Data Sync protect student information?
  18. Why doesn't my Customer Preview promo code link work?
  19. I received a 403 error when uploading CSV file using the Sync tool. How do I fix this?
  20. I received error 404 when running the School Data Sync Toolkit cmds. How do I fix this?
  21. Can I store and/or upload my CSV files if they are in a ZIP file format?
  22. Are the header names within the CSV files case sensitive?
  23. What are the requirements for accessing the SDS portal, and managing Sync?
  24. What happens with sync when my data changes in my SIS, or within my CSV files?
  25. Adding a Secondary Teacher
  26. Is there a character limitation for the SIS ID in the Section CSV file?
  27. Do I need to create more than 1 sync profile if my teachers and students are associated with different domains?
  28. Can I use both alpha and numeric characters for the School SIS ID?
  29. Why are Teachers or Students missing in the Organization tab?
  30. What attributes are synced with SDS?
  31. How can we export data from the SIS to Microsoft’s required CSV format?
  32. Can the SIS ID field for Sections contain spaces?
  33. What is the proper format for the Term StartDate and Term EndDate?
  34. Can I include optional attributes for sync if only some objects have a value populated for that attribute?
  35. Can I include empty columns in my CSV files?
  36. Do I need to remove the FirstName, LastName, and Password column if I’m not creating users through SDS?
  37. Does Microsoft provide extractor tools for my SIS data?
  38. Can a teacher sync if they are assigned to multiple schools?
  39. Can we export the sync issues/errors?
  40. Can we hide Sections from the GAL? If so, how?
  41. Will the standard welcome email be generated when users are synced/added to each sections/groups through SDS?
  42. If a class is set to inactive status manually through Classroom, will SDS change that status on the next sync if the CSV or SIS is different?
  43. Will SDS automatically sync student changes or do we have to restart sync on a regular basis?
  44. If we remove a user or section from Classroom will they reappear when we sync again?
  45. Why is there a character limitation on email addresses in SDS?
  46. How to sync objects with a sis id or attribute value less than 3 characters, or are less than 3 characters and start with a 0.
  47. Object limitations when synchronizing with SDS

Feedback and Knowledge Base