CSV File Format

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CSV, or Comma-separated values file, was created to save information in tabular format. In a nutshell, it’s a plain text document with a list of certain data. This type of document simplifies the process of exchanging data between different applications.

CSV and its technical details

As the name implies, these files in most cases use a comma to separate data. Sometimes other characters. A semicolon can also be used instead of a comma. Any spreadsheet program (e.g. Microsoft Excel) is suitable for CSV files. The main difference is that in this file type only a single sheet can be in a file at a time and it’s impossible to save a column or a row. Formulas can’t be saved here either.

The structure of this file type is rather simple: a list of data separated by comma characters. A more complicated structure would contain a huge number of lines, long strings of text, or more entries.

Since it’s a plain text, it’s easier to be imported into any spreadsheet regardless of the software. Moreover, the format is safe because it makes a clear distinction between words and numeric values. The information is stored as it is without any manipulations. And finally, this document form can be opened with any editor in Windows.

File extension
Internet media type
Multi-platform, serial data streams
Programs that use this format
Microsoft Excel
Apache OpenOffice Calc
Google Drive
Apple Numbers
LibreOffice Calc