What are CSV files? How to make them and why they are great to organize data

Data can be stored in numerous ways, but it is always a judicious idea to store it in a convenient way, as per your requirements. One of the most convenient ways to store data is through CSV files. What exactly are CSV files? You will get answers to all your questions here. CSV files are used extensively, as it offers almost all the functionalities you might need to organize your data. You don’t even need a special CSV file reader, as it is compatible with most programs we use, for our everyday activities. Moreover, it is also quite easy to create CSV files.

What are CSV files?

CSV files are those files, which are stored in plain text format, and they are delimited by commas ‘,’. It is the simplest way of explaining CSV files. All programs are configured to differentiate between fields through ‘,’. For example, you might be having the contact details of some of your friends; you can easily store them in CSV files, where the fields will be separated by ‘,’. For example, if you are having three records and each of them contains the name, phone number, address, and email, you can separate them in this way.

Name,Phone,Address,Email

John,+91123456789,”Bangalore, India”,john@domain.com

Preeti,+91234567890,”Chennai, India”,preeti@domain.com

Anush,+914561237891,”Kolkata, India”,anush@domain.com

You can download the following sample CSV file format here.

You can type contents in this manner in your text editor, and save it as a CSV file. It will now be a CSV file where the fields will be separated by ‘,’.

CSV files might or might not come with the header. Thus, you might need to rename the fields after it imported to some other format or program.

Why are CSV files great?

The question might come to mind, why you should choose CSV files when there are a number of other formats. And other formats might offer a plethora of functionalities which you will never get from CSV files.

Yes, CSV files don’t offer a number of options. It is all about storing data and delimiting them with ‘,’. But CSV files offer greater simplicity. It can be imported to any other programs, and after it is converted to a different format, you can do all the formatting you need.

There is hardly any other simple way of storing data as that of CSV files. Once you finally save some data in CSV format, you can open the file with CSV Excel, and you will get the values in consecutive cells in a tabular arrangement. Yes, the usual way, data is shown in a spreadsheet. That is indeed great.

Now, if you want to do some kind of formatting, you can do it in Excel, save it in your preferred format.

CSV files is indeed a great way of storing raw data, which can be processed later. As CSV files can be opened by almost all kind of programs, there will be no compatibility issues with CSV files. Apart from opening comma separated values in Excel, you can even open them in Notepad. But I will recommend you to go for Notepad++ to get extra functionalities, which can come in handy to edit CSV files.

Differenence between CSV and XLS files

CSV files are indeed great to organize data. But the same can also be done with the help of Excel worksheets. We can just put the values in the cells, and it will be all done. That is quite easy. But in the fight of CSV vs XLS, both are the winners in their own way.

In XLS you can format the contents in your own way, and make them look beautiful. But you can only open spreadsheets with Excel or any other similar class of applications. While, with CSV files, you can open it in any program.

Thus, for the purpose of getting numerous formatting options, go for XLS format. But if you want flexibility, CSV format should be the one you should go for. Yes CSV files are easy to import and is meant for that purpose

All the computers come with some basic text editing applications. In such cases, none of the users will face any kind of issues opening CSV files on the computer after a fresh start.

The size of CSV files is also very less compared to that of XLS files. The reason is quite obvious. CSV files are just saved in plain text format, which is shown to you in a convenient way, once it is imported into a program. But XLS need to store a number of other information about the data, which include color, formatting and different other settings.

Some important features of CSV files

Felt interesting about CSV files? Want to work with it to organize your data? Know some important points and features about CSV files here.

CSV files are all about storing data, and separating them by ‘,’. Once you’re done entering a record, you should go to the next line to enter the next record.

You cannot bold, italicize or do any other formatting with CSV files as they are not supported. But once it is imported to a particular format, you can do all kind of formatting you need.

While entering addresses in CSV files you should not use ‘,’ to differentiate between different entries. But in such cases, you can put a complete value within double inverted commas or “abc,def”. That will eradicate all the issues. You can find the same in the above sample CSV file.

You can even export an Excel file to a CSV format quite easily. Just save it in CSV format from the ‘Save’ menu. The CSV file will be created. But it should be free from any kind of formatting. If there is any kind of formatting the formatting will automatically be removed once it is saved in CSV format.

As CSV files are nothing, but text files, you will not need to create CSV files online. Nor you will need any kind of specialized software to create or edit them. Opening CSV file Excel is the best option though if you want seamless visibility of the files along with an easy option to edit them, without any hassles.

 

2 Comments

  1. Imran Soudagar May 31, 2018
    • Sarbasish Basu May 31, 2018

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