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What is a CSV file and how to open it

Hello! Computer, phone and other devices are capable of storing and working with different types of files. Moreover, these files come in different formats depending on their intended use. Indeed, they can be text files, images, databases and much more. Each of them can be opened in different ways. Today we will tell you what a CSV file is and how to open it. We will also learn how to create it, export it and more.

What is a CSV file?

It is certainly not the most popular format on the Internet. However, it is extremely practical for many uses. Therefore, we will learn what they are and what they are used for. We will also learn how to open it correctly so that it looks good. That is to say, to guarantee the comprehension of your data.

CSV stands for Comma Separated Values. In essence, they are simple text files that are comma separated and have only letters and numbers. Certainly, it is usual for characters to be separated by commas. However, it is not uncommon that they are also separated by other characters such as semicolons. All data is organized in a tabular form and presented in the form of a table. Each line of the file is a data record. In addition, each of them has one or more plain text fields separated by commas.

It is a format that can be opened in any program. However, for a better understanding, it is required to open it in certain specific programs. For example, spreadsheets. Their main disadvantage is that they only support raw data. Consequently, you will not be able to select table formats or colors when you open it.

What is a CSV file used for?

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CSV is a data interchange format used when there is a large amount of data. Therefore, it is used in the vast majority of consumer, scientific and commercial databases and applications. Its main use is to move data between programs in tabular form. Suppose you want to extract data from a database to send it to another program that accepts spreadsheets in a different format. In such a case, you can export this data in CSV format. This data can then be easily imported into any other program.

It is commonly used in online stores to import or export products or data. It can also be used to pass data to MailChimp, SEMrush, Google AdWords or Google Analytics. Furthermore, it actually has many practical functions. Consequently, it is well recognized in the business field.

How to create or open CSV

Once we have defined what a CSV file is, we can start managing them. Note that the editing is simple. It is enough to change the existing data or create new ones respecting its structure.

Some compatible programs

CSV files can be opened and converted with specific programs such as spreadsheets. Specifically, from programs such as Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc and Google Docs. You can also use Microsoft Works. We can even use Corel, WordPerfect, Office X6, EditPlus, LibreOffice, NeoOffice and more. Actually they can be opened with almost any program. However, for a correct visualization, we must use any of the above list.

On the other hand, there are specific programs to manage this type of files. For example, CSV Easy, CSVboard or CSV Editor Pro. For this reason, they have many other possibilities. These functions are interesting if you frequently work with this type of files. If you want to avoid downloading anything, you can resort to online editors such as Google Sheets, Convert CSV and more.

How to create a CSV file.

A CSV file allows you to handle large amounts of data in table format with a text document. You can create one from a native Windows app such as Notepad. Just insert the characters and separate them with a comma. This would represent the first row. You can add another row including the characters and separating them with a comma, representing the columns. When you are done, in save as, select .csv file.

In the case of using Excel, the procedure is similar. Simply create a new document. After including the data, you have to go to the save menu. From there, just select the csv file format. For security reasons, you should first save the file in native Excel format. However, you can also do the operation directly. On the other hand, you can repeat the methodology in any program that manages spreadsheets. In other words, create the document and then save it in the corresponding format. In any case, the important thing is to enter the data correctly. This will guarantee a correct visualization.

Open and manage CSV files.

The process of opening a CSV file is as simple as using the Windows context menu. To accomplish this, just right-click on the file and select the desired tool.

Let’s see how to manage it from Microsoft Excel. It is likely that at first glance, the file will not be displayed correctly. Don’t worry, you just have to specify which character you have used to separate the data. Either comma or semicolon. With this in mind, follow the path: Data>Text to columns>Select Delimiters. See the image below:

Selecting delimiters in the CSV file
Selecting delimiters in the CSV file

After this simple change, you will see how the file is displayed correctly. That is, with the separation of columns and rows in order.

You can repeat this operation with any program that handles CSV. Just find out how to pass the text to columns. The options may vary depending on the program.

How to convert CSV files.

We have warned you that working with this form is limited in terms of graphics. Therefore, we will not be able to manage color, tables or other possibilities. However, we can overcome this limitation by exporting the CSV file to another format. It could be a native Excel format, such as .xlsx. This way, you can add items that you would not ordinarily be able to add in the CSV format. Okay, so we have seen what a CSV file is and how to open it. From now on, you can use it to manage your databases. See you soon!

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