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Creating a CSV File

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Creating a CSV File.

CSV is one of those over-abundant computer acronyms. It means "comma-separated values." It refers to a type of file that is often used for transferring simple data from one program to another. In the file, each value is separated by a comma. The importing program knows that when it sees a comma, it can toss it out but it needs to get ready to accept a new value.

If you have information in Excel that you want to get into a different data-oriented program, chances are good that the other program will accept CSV files. In order to save your workbook data in CSV format, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Save As from the File menu. Excel displays the Save As dialog box.
  2. In the Save As Type drop-down list at the bottom of the dialog box, choose the CSV (Comma delimited) option.
  3. Use the other controls in the dialog box to specify a file name and location.
  4. Click on Save.
  5. Excel may display a dialog box telling you that not all Excel features can be maintained in the format you have chosen. Click on Yes to continue saving the information in CSV format.

At this point your worksheet is saved in CSV format. I generally find it a good idea to close the workbook, without saving. At this point you will have your original Excel workbook (in Excel format) and the CSV file, which contains the information you wanted in CSV format.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2483) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Creating a CSV File.

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