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: Comma-Delimited Differences for PC and Mac.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 25, 2018)
Excel allows you to save worksheet data in a comma-delimited format, so you can use it with other programs. Comma-delimited files are often referred to as CSV (comma-separated value) files, and are often used for exchanging data between programs.
When selecting how to export you data, you need to be sure that you pick the export format that is appropriate for the system on which it will be used. There are actually three CSV formats included with Excel:
You can choose any of these CSV options by using the Save As Type drop-down list at the bottom of the Save As dialog box. There are subtle differences between all three formats, but for most people, the first and third formats are essentially the same—they both work on the PC. The second format, for the Macintosh, is worth noting, however.
If your export file is destined for use on a Macintosh, you should choose the second CSV option. This option results in a CSV file where each record (each line in the file) is terminated with a carriage return, as expected by the Mac. In the PC world, lines are terminated with a carriage return/line feed combination, which can mess things up on the Macintosh.
If you are creating the CSV export file on the Mac for later use on the PC, you will want to make sure that you select a CSV format appropriate for the target system. The Mac includes CSV options for both Windows and MS-DOS systems. You should be able to choose either option and have the file work just fine.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10280) 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: Comma-Delimited Differences for PC and Mac.
Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!
MRU (most recently used) files can be a great help when you work with a given set of common workbooks. Excel allows you ...Discover More
Do you need to figure out the name of the parent folder of whatever folder a worksheet is in? Believe it or not, this can ...Discover More
Renaming a workbook from within Excel can seem daunting, but it is actually quite easy. All you need to do is use the ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.