What is a CSV File, and How to Convert CSV to Excel?

What is a CSV File, and How to Convert CSV to Excel?

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Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Aug 4, 2023 16:12 IST

Learn what is a CSV file and how to create one. Also learn how to convert CSV to Excel.


CSV stands for Comma Separated Values. It is a text data type in data processing with which you can record, store, and process large amounts of structured data. CSV files are frequently used for product catalogs in online stores. The file ends in .csv. The article talks about CSV and how to convert CSV to Excel.

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CSV File Format

There are no fixed rules for creating CSV files. UTF-8 (variable-length character encoding) is typically used and written in 7-bit ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange). Different characters (commas, tabs, etc.) are used for line breaks. 

The following structure is typical for a CSV file:

  • Definition of the columns in the header of the table.
  • A character to separate individual records and separate individual columns (commas, tabs, or spaces).
  • Field delimiter HTML unique character within the file to avoid confusion with separators.
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What is a CSV File Used for?

CSV files handle a large amount of data in table format without entailing any extra computational cost. It is straightforward to generate a table from a text document just by delimiting each required cell with a semicolon (in the case of Europe) or with a comma (in English-speaking countries).

CSV is a data exchange format used when there is a large amount of data, which is why it is used in most consumer, scientific and commercial databases and applications. Its primary use is to –

  • Move data between programs in tabular form.
  • Extract data from a database and send it to another program that accepts spreadsheets in a different format.

You can export it in CSV format, easily imported into any other program. It is used in online stores to import or export products or data, among many other uses. Also, to pass data to MailChimp, SEMrush, Google AdWords, or Google Analytics.

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Advantages of CSV

The benefits of using CSV files make sense depending on what each file is used for. Likewise, we present the most distinct advantages of the CSV format:

  • CSV is easy to create. This is because the CSV format is human-readable and easy to create. It can be done with any text editor, unlike the XLS or XLSX format.
  • It is readable. This means the data is not encoded or converted to binary before storing. This increases readability and ease of manipulation.
  • CSV files can be read with almost any text editor, so you won’t have any problems working with them.
  • It is easy to parse due to the simplicity of this format.
  • The CSV format comprises a simple outline, making it a popular choice for number-crunching jobs.
  • The CSV format is not known for its memory efficiency, so it is useful when generating small files. 
  • The CSV file format is compact compared to other formats like XML or JSON.

How to Create a CSV file?

Creating a CSV file can be done in any text editor, for example, Notepad. These are the steps to follow:

  • Define the headings: Define the categories into which the information to be processed will be divided. Each category has some characteristics that must be considered when classifying the data. 
  • Define the content: Collect and classify data according to the defined categories.
  • Separate each header with commas or semicolons: Arrange the headers horizontally at the top of the table. Commas or semicolons separate each header. The same symbols also separate the content according to the category to which they belong.
  • Save the file: Finally, save the file. Write the extension .csv to the right side of the document name. 
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How to Convert CSV to Excel?

To import a CSV file to Excel, follow the steps below:

  • Go to the Data section in the ribbon and select New Query.
How to Convert CSV to Excel?
  • Click the From File option and select From CSV file.
How to Convert CSV to Excel 2
  • Select your CSV file. 
How to Convert CSV to Excel 3
  • A window will appear where you can modify certain aspects of the table. 
How to Convert CSV to Excel 4
  • To finish, click on Close & Load.
How to Convert CSV to Excel 5

We hope this article helped you understand CSV and how to convert CSV to Excel.

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About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio