Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 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: Specifying a Delimiter when Saving a CSV File in a Macro.

Specifying a Delimiter when Saving a CSV File in a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 29, 2020)

When using the tools available from the ribbon to export a worksheet, as a CSV file, Arkadiusz noted that he can specify that he wants to use a semicolon (;) as a field delimiter. However, if he saves a CSV file using a macro (FileFormat:=xlCSV or xlCSVWindows), then he cannot specify a semicolon as a delimiter.

This works this way by design in VBA. The Excel implementation of the export routines for VBA always use whatever the Windows regional settings are to determine how items in a CSV should be separated. Specifically, the routine looks at the List Separator field for the delimiter. This means that you can, if desired, change the delimiter to a semicolon by changing the List Separator setting in your regional settings configuration.

If you don't want to change the regional settings, then you can instead write your own macro that will output the file in any way you desire. Consider, for a moment, the following macro, which will output the file:

Sub CreateFile()
    Dim sFName As String
    Dim Rows As Long
    Dim Cols As Long
    Dim J As Long
    Dim K As Long
    Dim sTemp As String
    Dim sSep As String

    sSep = ";"  'Specify the separator to be used

    sFName = ActiveWorkbook.FullName
    If Right(sFName, 5) = ".xlsx" Then
        sFName = Mid(sFName, 1, Len(sFName) - 5)
        sFName = sFName & ".txt"
        Open sFName For Output As 1

        With ActiveSheet
            'Number of rows to export is based on the contents
            'of column B. If it should be based on a different
            'column, change the following line to reflect the
            'column desired.
            Rows = .Cells(.Rows.Count, "B").End(xlUp).Row
            For J = 1 To Rows
                sTemp = ""
                Cols = .Cells(J, .Columns.Count).End(xlToLeft).Column
                For K = 2 To Cols
                    sTemp = sTemp & .Cells(J, K).Value
                    If K < Cols Then sTemp = sTemp & sSep
                Next
                Print #1, sTemp
            Next J
        End With

        Close 1

        sTemp = "There were " & Rows & " rows of data written "
        sTemp = sTemp & "to this file:" & vbCrLf & sFName
    Else
        sTemp = "This macro needs to be run on a workbook "
        sTemp = sTemp & "stored in the XLSX format."
    End If

    MsgBox sTemp
End Sub

This macro opens a text file that has the same name as your workbook. It then steps through each row and starts putting together a string of the cell contents. (This is put into the sTemp variable.) Each cell has a semicolon placed between it, as defined by the sSep variable. Each row's concatenated values are stored in the text file, and when done the text file is closed. The routine is very quick, and when done it displays a message indicating how many rows were exported to the file.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9243) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Specifying a Delimiter when Saving a CSV File in a Macro.

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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