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What is a CSV file?

Last Updated: Jan 27, 2016 01:20PM MST

What is a CSV file?

A Comma Separated Value (CSV) file is a computer data file used for the digital storage of data structured in a lists form, where each associated item (member) in a group is separated by commas.

Each line in the CSV file corresponds to a row in the table. Within a line, fields are separated by commas, each field belonging to one table column. CSV files are often used for moving tabular data between two different computer programs, for example between a database program and a spreadsheet program.

Note that under certain conditions the CSV format uses double quotation marks to protect the contents of a field:

  • If a cell within the Excel spreadsheet contains a comma or other internal punctuation, the cell contents will be enclosed in double quotation marks.
  • When a field in the spreadsheet is empty, a pair of double quotation marks serves as a placeholder for that empty field.

Taskstream uses CSV files to handle bulk import of field placement data, test and GPA scores, external recipients, and course and program information (TSDE).Saving in CSV format


Data saved in an Excel spreadsheet can easily be saved as a CSV file.

  1. In the File menu, select the Save As option.
  2. Enter a name for the file.
  3. Select CSV as the file format.
  4. Click Save.


(Optional) If the system prompts that some features are not supported, click Yes. CSV files are plain text and do not preserve some capabilities of Excel, such as bold and font sizes

To view the CSV in its comma separated form, open in Notepad or any other plain text editor.

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