When you're working with data in CSV format, it's likely you will need to open the data in Excel. And it's no secret that this process (commonly!) is known as not too straightforward. To avoid any frustration below is a step-by-step instruction on how to successfully open a CSV in Excel.
There are plenty of issues that may arise, but these are the most common and annoying ones that you’re likely to face while trying to open a CSV file in Excel.
- You have no tabular formatted data and everything is crammed into one column
- Leading zeroes are dropped - an absolute nightmare if you're dealing with zip codes, account numbers, or any other important numerical value in your dataset
- Numbers magically transformed to date format, rendering the original information unreadable
Excel is a spreadsheet program, designed to automatically detect and format data. And during this process, things can go a little awry. Excel can make mistakes when it translates your data.
The people who created Excel are aware of these CSV file translation blunders, and they have a built-in feature to prevent it from happening to you. So, instead of using the File > Open shortcut, use these steps.Import CSV data into Excel spreadsheet via Text Import Wizard
1. Open the spreadsheet where you want to view your CSV data (this may be a new, blank spreadsheet, or an existing one)
2. Click on the "Data" tab and then select "From Text"