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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 20, 2021)

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

Tracing Precedent Cells

Cells that affect another cell are called precedent cells. If you need to know which cells affect a particular cell, ...

Discover More

Using AutoFiltering

Excel's AutoFilter tool is a great way to make a long list of items much more manageable. This tip explains how to set up ...

Discover More

Printing Multiple Selections

Need to print several portions of a worksheet all on a single piece of paper? Here's an easy way you can get what you ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Use Filenames that Sort Properly

When storing your Excel workbook, you need to specify a file name to be used for the workbook. Take a moment to consider ...

Discover More

Determining the Length of a Text File

When processing plain text files in a macro, it is often helpful to know how much data the file contains. The normal way ...

Discover More

Stopping Date Parsing when Opening a CSV File

Excel tries to make sense out of any data that you import from a non-Excel file. Sometimes this can have unwanted ...

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 9 - 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.


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.