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Opening and saving CSV files in Excel

A CSV file or “Comma Separated Values” file is used to store information in plain text form. This format is widely used for moving or updating data between systems like ecommerce stores. Microsoft Excel allows you to easily view and edit CSV files as spreadsheets with info placed into columns, that’s often more convenient compared to working in a text editor.

Here’s how the same CSV file looks when viewed in a plain text editor and in Excel:

Excel comparison.png

If you’re up to opening an online store, you can use CSVs to upload catalog in minutes. Learn more about catalog import

Opening CSV files in Excel

If you have Microsoft Excel installed on your device or you are subscribed to the online version of Microsoft 365, you can use Excel to open and edit your CSV files.

Opening a CSV file by right-clicking it and choosing Open With → Excel may lead to scrambled data and formatting issues. We recommend importing the file into Excel as described below.

To open a CSV file:

  1. Open a new blank document in Excel.
  2. Navigate to the Data tab and click From Text:

    Opening and saving CSV files in Excel (1).png

  3. Locate and select the CSV file that you want to edit and click Import.
  4. In the Text Import Wizard, choose Delimited, then click Next.
  5. In the Delimiters section, choose the delimiter used in your file and click Next.
    Once you have chosen the right delimiter, you’ll see that your data is parsed into columns on the preview.
  6. For Column data format, choose General.
  7. Click Finish.
  8. Choose where you want to put the data — on the existing sheet or on a new one, then click OK.

That’s it! The file will be opened as a spreadsheet in Excel. You can now edit it. To check what columns you can add there to import catalog into your Ecwid store, see Format guidelines for the CSV file for reference.

The steps described in the instructions can slightly alter for different operating systems and their versions. For more details on how to import a CSV file into Excel on different versions of Windows, refer to the article in Microsoft Office support helpdesk (see the “Import a text file by connecting to it” section). Optionally, you can import CSV files from the File tab.

Saving CSV files in Excel

After you’re done editing your import file in Excel, you need to save it as CSV before proceeding with the import process.

To save a spreadsheet as CSV:

  1. Open your spreadsheet in Excel.
  2. Click File → Save As.
  3. Under Save as type box, choose CSV UTF-8 or CSV (Comma delimited).
  4. Click Save.

That’s it! A file in CSV format with comma as a delimiter will be downloaded to your device, and you can upload it into your store to update store data.

CSV file delimiters

Values in CSV files are divided by delimiters (also called “separator characters”). For example, a delimiter can be a comma (,), a semicolon (;), a tab ( ), or a pipe (|).

In CSV files that you import into your Ecwid store, you can use any kind of delimiter as long as it’s consistent throughout the file.

Sometimes when you open CSVs in Excel, you need to specify what delimiter is used in your file so that the file is processed correctly. After that, delimiters will be converted into table borders, and you can view the CSV file as a spreadsheet.

To see what delimiter is used in your CSV file, simply open the file in a plain text editor — right-click on the file and choose your editor (Notepad, TextEdit or alike).

Changing the default delimiter in Excel

When creating a CSV file Excel uses a default delimiter set at the operating system level that can be changed in your device regional settings. The delimiter you have configured will be applied not only to your Excel settings but to all apps and programs.

To change the default delimiter in Excel:

The default delimiter for Windows is a comma. You can change it to another delimiter character using Windows Region settings. Learn how to do it on different versions of Windows in the article by Microsoft Office support.

Related articles

Opening and saving CSV files in Google Sheets
Opening and saving CSV files in Numbers
Intro to catalog import
Getting started with importing products

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