You’ve likely encountered many comma-separated value (CSV) files over the years. These can often be the bane of an Excel users’ existence, as Excel tries to be “helpful” in such a way that often becomes “anti-help”. In this article I’ll show you an alternative to the traditional File, Open command that will enable you to assert far more control over handling CSV files in Excel.
You should find this approach eliminates most, if not all, of your frustrations related to viewing and editing such files in Microsoft Excel. A typical comma-separated value file is shown in Figure 1. If we use the Notepad app in Windows to view the file, we can see that each field is separated by a comma. This serves as a universal format that many software programs rely on for importing and/or exporting data.
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About David Ringstrom, CPA
David H. Ringstrom, CPA, is an author and nationally recognized instructor who teaches scores of webinars each year. His Excel courses are based on over 25 years of consulting and teaching experience. His mantra is “Either you work Excel, or it works you.” David offers spreadsheet and database consulting services nationwide.