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


2

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Hiding Columns Not within a Date Range

Want to automatically hide some columns that don't meet a date criteria that you set? You can't do it automatically, but ...

Discover More

Opening a Workbook to a Specific Worksheet

When you open a workbook, Excel displays the worksheet that was visible when the workbook was last saved. You may want, ...

Discover More

Reducing the Size of Spaces in a Selection

If you want to decrease the size of spaces in some selected text, the best approach is to use a macro. This tip includes ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Saving in Multiple Locations

Need to save a workbook in more than one location? Here's a handy macro that can save your workbook in lots of different ...

Discover More

Faster Text File Conversions

Want to make your importing of text data faster than ever? Here are some ideas you can apply right away.

Discover More

Importing Huge Data Files

Sometimes, when importing data created by other programs, you may find that there is too much for Excel to handle. Here's ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine minus 5?

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.


This Site

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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.