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 March 15, 2014)

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:

http://www.dicks-blog.com/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.

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

Sequentially Numbering Elements in Your Document

One of the most powerful and useful fields provided by Word is the SEQ field. This tip describes how you can use the field to ...

Discover More

Counting the Instances of a Text String

Sometimes it is helpful to know how often a particular phrase appears within a document. If you need to know such a count, ...

Discover More

Easily Changing the Default Drive and Directory

Need a quick way to change the default drive and directory in a macro you are writing? Here's the commands to do it and a ...

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)

Closing Multiple Files

When working with multiple workbooks open, you may want a way to close them all with a single command. Here's the secret.

Discover More

Getting Input from a Text File

You can use a macro to read information from a text file. The steps are easy, and then you can use that information in any ...

Discover More

Protecting Excel Files from Word

Office easily allows you to use Word to open an Excel document. Doing so, however, can quickly result in and unusable ...

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 6 + 0?

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.