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

Counting Employees in Classes

Excel is very good at counting things, even when those things need to meet specific criteria. This tip shows how you can ...

Discover More

Filtering Columns for Unique Values

Given a long list of names, part numbers, or what-have-you, you may need to determine the unique values within the list. ...

Discover More

Numbering on New Paragraph Doesn't Work as Expected

The Numbering feature in Word can be a bit tricky to navigate. Sometimes it works as it should, and other times it seems ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Jumping Around Folders

When you open a workbook in Excel, the Open dialog box always starts within the folder in which you were last working. ...

Discover More

Who Has the File Open?

Open a workbook that someone else is working on, and you won't be able to save your changes back into the same file. ...

Discover More

Opening Non-Excel Files

Not all data is created in Excel. Indeed, you may have data in files created by many other types of programs. You might ...

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 8 + 7?

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.