Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Creating a CSV File.

Creating a CSV File

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 9, 2019)

CSV is one of those over-abundant computer acronyms. It means "comma-separated values." It refers to a type of file that is often used for transferring simple data from one program to another. In the file, each value is separated by a comma. The importing program knows that when it sees a comma, it can toss it out but it needs to get ready to accept a new value.

If you have information in Excel that you want to get into a different data-oriented program, chances are good that the other program will accept CSV files. In order to save your workbook data in CSV format, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Save As dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Save As. In Excel 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Save As.)
  2. Click on Browse.
  3. In the Save As Type drop-down list at the bottom of the dialog box, choose the CSV (Comma delimited) option.
  4. Use the other controls in the dialog box to specify a file name and location.
  5. Click on Save.
  6. Excel may display a dialog box telling you that not all Excel features can be maintained in the format you have chosen. Click on Yes to continue saving the information in CSV format.

At this point your worksheet is saved in CSV format. I generally find it a good idea to close the workbook, without saving. At this point you will have your original Excel workbook (in Excel format) and the CSV file, which contains the information you wanted in CSV format.

You may have noticed, in step 3, that Excel actually provides three or four (depending on which version of Excel you are using) different CSV formats you can use when saving. The technical differences between each of the formats are explained in a different tip.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8936) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Creating a CSV File.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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