Comma Separated Value (CSV) formatted files are one of the easiest methods to store and transfer data because it is one of the most compatible files you can use. Even Notepad, which is a basic text editor, works well with them although I would not recommend using Notepad if you have a huge file.
The CSV file is structured a lot like a table. Each column of the table is separated by a comma and each row is separated by a new line.
Suppose you have a CSV list of name and ages in a CSV file (First name, Last Name, Age) in Notepad. Go ahead and create a small one and take a look at it. You only need two or three rows. You can clearly see that it resembles a table right?
It is this feature of CSVs that will allow Excel to import them easily.
Follow the steps below to learn how:
- First, you must select the Data tab from your Ribbon.
- Then click From Text.
- Navigate to where you have saved the CSV file you would like to import and select it.
- Click Ok and a three step wizard will then display to help you import your text correctly.
- As you can see, Step 1 has many options, but most of these you will never alter. The only thing to note is that if your data has column headings you will have to select the My data has headers option.
- Click Next and Step 2 will appear.
- All that needs to be done here is select Comma as the delimiter for your text. All the other options shown, are for files that are separated in other various ways.
- Click Next and Step 3 will appear.
- The Data Preview window shows you what your data will look like with the selected delimiter. If it does not look right to you, now is the time to correct it by selecting an option other than what is already selected.
- This third and final step will allow you to select the data format of each of your columns. General format is selected for each column by default and will do most of your work for you by converting numbers and dates where it deems appropriate. All remaining values are then just changed to text. You should not need to alter this very often unless you are importing data that Excel does not understand.
- Once you click Finish, you must select where you would like your new data to be placed in Excel.
- If I had a larger amount of data, more options would have shown.
- You can choose a new or existing worksheet by selection the option of your choice and your cell reference should be showing in the box.
- Click OK.
The data has now flowed into your worksheet.
It is a fairly simply process and I think you will be very glad that you now have that tool under your belt!