This blank template can be used to manually create a data dictionary. Use one row for each data element, and do not leave rows, columns, or cells blank. Add rows and columns as necessary, and enter n/a if nothing applies. See below for an explanation of column headers.

Use the following link to access a blank template to download and customize:

Blank Template

This template is read-only. Please copy the information into your own spreadsheet to create your data dictionary.

Explanation of column headers:

  • Spreadsheet tab​: If your spreadsheet has multiple tabs, identify the tab you are describing.

  • Element or value display name​: What is the name used in your data file?

  • Description​: Write a brief definition, stated in the singular, that could stand alone from other element definitions.

  • Data type​: For example, indicate varchar, integer, date, etc.

  • Character length​: For example, the maximum length for Excel is 255, so indicate 255 or less.

  • Acceptable values​: List all acceptable values, separated by pipes ( | ). This may be a field name or a range of values.

  • Required?​: Enter y/n to indicate whether this field is required.

  • Accepts null value?​: This required to run calculations on your data. Indicate y/n if null value is allowable.

    • A note on null values: Null is the absence of a recorded value for a field. A null value differs from a value of zero in that zero may represent the measure of an attribute, while a null value indicates that no measurement has been taken.