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: Specifying a Delimiter when Saving a CSV File in a Macro.

Specifying a Delimiter when Saving a CSV File in a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 30, 2018)

1

When creating a CSV file using the menus to export a worksheet, Arkadiusz noted that he can specify that he wants to use a semicolon (;) as a field delimiter. However, if he saves a CSV file using a macro (FileFormat:=xlCSV or xlCSVWindows), then he cannot specify a semicolon as a delimiter.

This works this way by design in VBA. The Excel implementation of the export routines for VBA always use whatever the Windows regional settings are to determine how items in a CSV should be separated. Specifically, the routine looks at the List Separator field for the delimiter. This means that you can, if desired, change the delimiter to a semicolon by changing the List Separator setting in your regional settings configuration.

If you don't want to change the regional settings, then you can instead write your own macro that will output the file in any way you desire. Consider, for a moment, the following macro, which will output the file:

Sub CreateFile()
    FName = ActiveWorkbook.Name
    If Right(FName, 4) = ".xls" Then
        FName = Mid(FName, 1, Len(FName) - 4)
    End If

    Columns(1).Insert Shift:=xlToRight

    For i = 1 To Range("B65000").End(xlUp).Row
        TempString = ""
        For j = 2 To Range("HA1").End(xlToLeft).Column
            If j <> Range("HA1").End(xlToLeft).Column Then
                TempString = TempString & _
                  Cells(i, j).Value & ";"
            Else
                TempString = TempString & _
                  Cells(i, j).Value
            End If
        Next
        Cells(i, 1).Value = TempString
    Next

    Columns(1).Select
    Selection.Copy
    Workbooks.Add
    Range("A1").Select
    ActiveSheet.Paste
    Application.CutCopyMode = False

    ActiveWorkbook.SaveAs Filename:=FName & ".txt", _
      FileFormat:=xlPrinter
End Sub

This macro takes a unique approach to creating the output file. What it does is to insert a column at the left of your worksheet, and then concatenates all the data to the right of that column into the newly inserted column A. It adds a semicolon between each field. Once that is done, it grabs the information it put into column A and writes it into a new workbook. This workbook is then saved to disk using the xlPrinter file format, which means that it is put out "as is" without any modification whatsoever.

If you prefer a more direct approach, writing the information directly to a file without making changes to your worksheet, take a look at the macro at this blog post:

https://web.archive.org/web/20060302021412/http:/www.dicks-blog.com:80/archives/2004/11/09/roll-your-own-csv/

The macro uses commas between each field, but it can be easily modified so that it uses semicolons instead.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3232) 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: Specifying a Delimiter when Saving a CSV File in a Macro.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Embedding TrueType Fonts

If you need to make sure that the fonts in your document can be used by another person or on a different system, you'll ...

Discover More

What Line Am I On?

At the bottom of your document, on the status bar, you can see the line on which your insertion point is located. It is ...

Discover More

Removing a Tile from the Start Screen

The Start screen is a busy place in Windows. If it is too busy for your tastes, you can easily remove any of the tiles it ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Stopping Date Parsing when Opening a CSV File

Excel tries to make sense out of any data that you import from a non-Excel file. Sometimes this can have unwanted ...

Discover More

Avoiding Scientific Notation on File Imports

When importing information from a CSV file, you may get unintended results from time to time. Here's how to force Excel ...

Discover More

Finding the Size of a Workbook

Keeping tabs on the size of a workbook can be important when using Excel. You have a couple of options that will allow ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six minus 6?

2014-03-17 10:40:10

Scott Renz

Thanks Allen,

I have a problem though. Sometimes people put semi-colons and or double-quotation marks into their descriptions that go into some of the cells in the worksheet. When I open up that semi-colon separted file in Excel, some of the rows are truncated with the trailing parts after the truncation put into subsequent rows.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.