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What is a CSV file and how to open a .csv file? Computers, phones, etc. They are excellent for storing different types of files that are in different formats depending on their use. For example: Files that you can make changes to are in .docx format, files that you can only read and are not allowed to make any changes to are in .pdf format, if you have any tabular data, these data files are in .csv format, if you have any compressed file it will be in .zip format, etc. All of these different file formats open in different ways, in this post you will learn what a CSV file is and how to open a file in the .csv format.

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What is a CSV file?

CSV stands for Comma Separated Values. CSV files are simple text files separated by a comma and contain only letters and numbers. All the data present in the CSV file is present in table or table form. Each line in the file is called a data record. Each record contains one or more fields that are plain text and are separated by commas.

CSV is a common data exchange format used to exchange data generally when there is a large amount of data. Almost all consumer, commercial and scientific databases and apps that store a large amount of information support this CSV format. Its best use of all uses is to move data between programs in tabular form. For example: If some user wants to extract some data from a database that is in proprietary format and wants to send it to some other program that can accept a spreadsheet that uses a completely different format, then the database can export its data in CSV format that can be easily imported by the spreadsheet and can be applied in the program wherever you want.

These files can sometimes be named Character Separated Values or Comma Delimited, but whatever they are called, they are always in CSV format. They mostly use commas to separate values from each other, but occasionally they also use other characters such as semicolons to separate values. The idea is that you can export complex data from an app file to a CSV file and then you can import that CSV file into another application where you need that complex data. Below is an example of a CSV file that is opened with Notepad of notes.

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The CSV file shown above is very simple and contains very little value. It can be more complex than that and can contain hundreds of lines.

A CSV file can be run in any program but for better understanding and for most users, the CSV file is best viewed through a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc, and Google Docs.

How do you open a CSV file?

The CSV file can be viewed through Notepad as seen above. But in notepad, the values are separated by commas, which is very difficult to read. Hence, there is another way to open a .csv file using a spreadsheet program that will open the CSV file in tabular form and where you can easily read them. There are three spreadsheet programs with which you can open a .csv file. These are:

  1. Microsoft Excel
  2. OpenOffice Calc
  3. Google Docs

Method 1: Open a CSV file using Microsoft Excel

If you have Microsoft Excel installed on your PC, then by default any CSV file will open in Microsoft Excel when you double-click on it.

To open the CSV file using Microsoft Excel follow these steps:

1.Right-click the CSV file you want to open.

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2.Select Open With from the menu bar that appears.

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3.In the context menu "Open with", choose Microsoft Excel and click on it.

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4.Your CSV file will open in a tabular form that is very easy to read.

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There is another way to open a .csv file using Microsoft Excel:

1.Open Microsoft Excel by searching for it with the Windows search bar.

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2.Click on the Microsoft Excel search result and it will open.

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3.Click the file option available in the upper left corner.

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4.Click Open Available in the top pane.

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5.Navigate to the folder that contains the file you intend to open.

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6.Once in the desired folder, select the file by clicking on it.

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7.Then click the Open button.

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8.Your CSV file will open in tabular and readable form.

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Therefore, using any of the above methods, you can open a CSV file using Microsoft Excel.

Method 2: How to Open a CSV File Using OpenOffice Calc

If you have OpenOffice installed on your PC, you can open the .csv files with OpenOffice Calc. If there is no other font installed on your PC, the .csv file will automatically open in OpenOffice.

1.Right-click on the .csv file you want to open.

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2.Select "Open with" from the context menu of the right mouse button.

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3.In Open With, choose OpenOffice Calc and click on it.

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4.Your CSV file will open now.

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5. There are many options with which you can change the way you intend to view the contents of the .csv file, for example using a comma, a space, a tab, etc.

Method 3: How to Open CSV File Using Google Docs

If you don't have any software installed on your PC to open the .csv files, you can use Google Docs online to open the csv files.

1.Open the Google disk using this link: www.google.com/drive

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2.Click Go to Google Drive.

3.You will be redirected to the login page. Enter your email address and your Gmail password.

Note: if your Gmail account is already logged in, you will not be redirected to the login page.

4.After logging in, you will be redirected to my hard drive page.

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5.Click on My Hard Drive.

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6.A drop-down menu will appear. Click Upload files from the drop-down menu.

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7.Navigate to the folder that contains your CSV file.

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8.Once inside the desired folder, select the .csv file and click the Open button.

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9.Once your file is uploaded to Drive, you will see a confirmation box appear in the lower left corner.

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10.When the upload is complete, double-click the .csv file you just uploaded to open it.

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11.In the "Open With" drop-down menu, select Google Sheets.

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12.Your CSV file will open in the form of a table from where you will be able to read it easily and clearly.

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I hope this post has been helpful and that you can now easily open any .csv file using any of the above methods, but if you still have any questions regarding this tutorial, feel free to ask them in the comments section.