The CSV file format is very simple and supported by almost all spreadsheets and database management systems. Many programming languages have libraries available that support CSV files. Many implementations support changing the field-separator character and some quoting conventions, although it is safest to use the simplest conventions, to maximize the recipients' chances of handling the data.
Microsoft Excel will open .csv files, but depending on the system's regional settings, it may expect a semicolon as a separator instead of a comma, since in some languages the comma is used as the decimal separator. Also, many regional versions of Excel will not be able to deal with Unicode in CSV. One simple solution when encountering such difficulties is to change the filename extension from
.txt; then opening the file from an already running Excel with the "Open" command.
When pasting text data into Excel, the tab character is used as a separator: If you copy "hello
OpenOffice.org Calc and LibreOffice Calc handle CSV files and pasted text with a Text Import dialog asking the user to manually specify the delimiters, encoding, format of columns, etc.
There are many utility programs on Unix-style systems that can deal with at least some CSV files. Many such utilities have a way to change the delimiter character, but lack support for any other variations (or for Unicode). Some of the useful programs are:
- uniq (-f to skip comparing the first N fields)
Read more about this topic: Comma-separated Values
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