Datawrapper Troubleshooting

Datawrapper normally does what it says: Uploads your data, helps to create a chart or a map. The tool is designed to simplify the task to visualize data. But of course sometimes something does not work as expected. If you think an issue should be added here, please send to support@datawrapper.de inclusion. 

This post therefore summarizes some of the causes for such problems we already clarified in the past. When there is a problem this can have a number of reasons: The format of your data, a module not working, a bug in the software. The majority of mails to support can be solved by looking into the user data, in most cases there is some format issue which can be fixed quickly.

You can help support to identify your problem by sending a direct link to the chart you work on from the application (not the published link). 

Dataset is not fully imported and does not map to the intended columns
Almost all problems with data imports boil down to a special character or other formatting left in the dataset in the spreadsheet. Try to search for hyphens or slashes in the description. 

Data is in the wrong format (text, number, date)
By now, Datawrapper is quite powerful and skilled at processing data imports. For example, the tool recognizes all variations of date formats (MM/DD/YYYY as well as DD/MM/YYYY). The same goes for shortened formats such as DD/MM/YY. But it might happen that Datawrapper does not attribute the right format for some formatting - such as number, text or date. Check this in step 2 (Check & Describe). If you click on a column you will see a menu that let's you choose the format manually. 

Data is not properly mapped to columns
If you import your data and it is only partially or even erroneously understood in step 2, this is caused by the data format. The best way to import data into Datawrapper is by cleaning it thoroughly of special formatting in a spreadsheet beforehand. Use the standard format.
Try to avoid leaving currency symbols in the data (you can add those in Datawrapper and often those are not even needed). 

You uploaded data through a .csv file and the data is not properly parsed into Datawrapper
Key advise is to make sure that you import a well structured data file, with descriptions for the data in the first row. If there are numbers in the first row Datawrapper will assume that this contains the legend, so you need to go back to your spreadsheet and add those. We have a separate tutorial about using .csv files for data uploads

Maps are not loading data because of a slash in the dataset
We found that if there is a slash in one of the country descriptions, this might cause Datawrapper to not parse the data properly. Example: Bosnia/Herzegovina might cause this. If you get rid of the slash and write "Bosnia and Herzegovina" the data will load properly. This is a known issue, we are working on a fix (Status: Mid 2017).

General availability
With any browser based tool uptime has to be taken into account, specifically in newsrooms where work is done under deadlines. Datawrapper is used around the globe, which means we must ensure 24/7 availability. At any time of the day we have hundreds and sometimes thousands of concurrent users publishing charts. This is closely monitored. While we won't claim 100% uptime we reached levels of 99,9% uptime for the past years and intend to keep it this way. 

Datawrapper is down or unresponsive
Our system has been constantly optimized for maximum availability. In the years from 2014 to 2017 we recorded uptime of well over 99% for the full year. Outages or times when the tool was slow usually lasted no longer than a few minutes. Some of these brief outages we created ourselves, through updates - but as we always check these where fixed very very quickly. Rarely, we are affected by downtime of systems we rely on. For the past four years this usually amounted to minutes of downtime, so this is an issue we practically eradicated as we are providing almost full availability. But things might break, so this is simply to inform you what is happening when Datawrapper won't let you publish or is loading forever.

For example Datawrapper was affected by the massive outage of AWS earlier in 2017, like many, many other big sites on the web. At the same time, AWS is an essential and usually stable service of utmost importance. Nevertheless, we are taking precaution by constantly working on the server set-up, backups and other resources. We do quality checks, monitor workload, and servers. On top, we have some redundant resources. For background knowledge: All charts are existing on two separate locations: The original chart or map is in the tool itself. Once you publish your chart it is sent to a global CDN (Content Delivery Network). Which means that even when Datawrapper is down for whatever reason, the published charts will be shown. 

Contact support
Please feel free to ask a questions should you think there is something really wrong. Contact support@datawrapper.de. We have a shared inbox and usually get to inbox zero twice a day for standard questions. For feature requests it sometimes takes longer as we have to sort out how to potentially fix something or add a new option. 

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