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: File Formats that Include Field Formats.

File Formats that Include Field Formats

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 20, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


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Wolfgang often imports CSV files that are created by other programs. When importing, he needs to specify how Excel should treat the incoming data. This causes Wolfgang to wonder if there is a file format that Excel can import that has field formats embedded so that he doesn't have to do any manual work on import.

The short answer is no, there isn't such a format. Technically you can create an XML-formatted file that uses the format of Office, and it can specify what the field formats should be. Such a file consists of only text (like a traditional CSV file) and includes specifiers about how the data should be formatted. (Complete details on how such an XML file should be structured is beyond the scope of this tip.)

Such an endeavor is undeniably daunting to many people, so you could also simply import your CSV file with no formatting applied, and then use the macro recorder to record how you manually format the freshly imported data. This macro could then be executed every time you import another file that uses the same sort of data as the first CSV file you imported.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11602) 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: File Formats that Include Field Formats.

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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What is 8 - 3?

2021-02-20 06:48:08

Tom Kadlec

Another option is to use Power Query and Refresh the query.


2021-02-20 06:31:23

Rohn S, MVP 2012-2018

Another option would be to use PowerQuery. You can apply specific data types to columns, along with any other data modification you want to use. This information is saved in the query so it is re-applied the next time you refresh the query or use the query to import data from a new CSV file.


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