What is a CSV file and how to open a .csv file?

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Aina Prat Blasi
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What is a CSV file and how to open the .csv file? Computers, phones, etc. They are great for storing different types of files which are in different formats based on their usage. For example: the files that you can make changes are in .docx format, the files that you can only read and that you are not allowed to make changes are in .pdf format, if you have tabular data, those data files are in .csv format, if you have any compressed files it will be in .zip format, etc. All these files of different formats open in different ways. In this article, you will find out what a CSV file is and how to open a file in .csv format.




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What is a CSV file?

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

CSV is a common data exchange format which is used to exchange data usually when there is a large amount of data. Almost all consumer, business, and scientific databases and applications 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 a user wants to extract some data from the database in proprietary format and wants to send it to another program that can accept a spreadsheet that uses a completely different format, the database can export their data in CSV format which can be easily imported from the spreadsheet and can be used in the program wherever you want.




These files can sometimes call values ​​separated by characters or comma delimited files, but whatever they are called, they are always in CSV format. They mainly use comma to separate values ​​from each other, but sometimes they also use other characters such as semicolons to separate values. 

The idea behind this is that you can export complex data from one application file to a CSV file and then you can import that CSV file into another application where you need that complex data. 

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


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How to open a CSV file?

The CSV file can be viewed via Notepad. But in notepad, the values ​​are separated by commas which are very difficult to read. So, 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 that allow you to open a .csv file. These are:

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  2. OpenOffice Calc
  3. Google documents

Method 1: Open a CSV file using Microsoft Excel

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



To open the CSV file using Microsoft Excel, please follow the steps below:


  1. Right click on the CSV file which you want to open.
  2. Select Open with from the menu bar.
  3. From the “Open with” context menu, select Microsoft Excel and click on it.
  4. Your CSV file will open in a tabular form which is very easy to read.

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

  1. To open Microsoft Excel searching for it using the Windows search bar.
  2. Click the search result for Microsoft Excel and it will open.
  3. Click on the option Fillet available in the upper left corner.
  4. click on apri available in the top panel.
  5. Navigate to the folder which contains the file you want to open.
  6. Once in the desired folder, select the file by clicking on it.
  7. Next, click the Open button.
  8. Your CSV file will open in a tabular and readable form.

Then, using one of the above methods, you can open the CSV file using Microsoft Excel.

Method 2: How to open a CSV file using OpenOffice Calc 

If you have OpenOffice installed on your computer, you can open .csv files using OpenOffice Calc. If no other source is installed on your computer, your .csv file should automatically open in OpenOffice.


  1. Right click on the .csv file that you want to open.
  2. Select " Open with ”From the right-click context menu.
  3. In Open with, choose OpenOffice Calc and click on it.
  4. The CSV file will now open.
  5. There are many options that allow you to change how you want to display the contents of the .csv file, for example by using a comma, space, tab, etc.

Method 3: How to open CSV file using Google Docs

  1. If there is no software installed on your computer to open .csv files, you can use Google Docs online to open CSV files.
  2. Open Google Drive using this link: www.google.com/drive
  3. click on Vai a Google Drive.
  4. You will be redirected to the login page. Enter your email address and Gmail password. Final report: if your Gmail account is already connected, you will not be redirected to the login page.
  5. After logging in, you will be redirected to the pagina my-drive.
  6. Click I my files.
  7. A drop-down menu will appear. Click Upload file from the drop-down menu.
  8. Navigate to the folder which contains the CSV file.
  9. Once inside the desired folder, select the .csv file and click the button apri .
  10. Once the file has been uploaded to Drive, a confirmation box will appear in the lower left corner.
  11. When the upload is complete, do double click on the .csv file just loaded to open it.
  12. From the drop-down menu " Open with ", to select Google Sheets.

Your CSV file will open in tabular form and you can read it easily and clearly.


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