How to Make a Comma Delimited File From Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

To create a comma delimited file from Excel, simply save your Excel file as a “CSV (Comma delimited)” file type. This action will convert your Excel spreadsheet into a text file where each cell value is separated by a comma, making it easier to import into other programs or databases.

After you complete the action, you will have a .csv file that can be opened with any text editor, such as Notepad or TextEdit. It can be easily shared and imported into various applications that support CSV format, such as databases, contact management systems, and other data analysis tools.


When it comes to data management, being able to move information from one platform to another is crucial. Excel is a powerful tool used by many for organizing and analyzing data, but sometimes you need to export that data into a different format. This is where creating a comma delimited file, also known as a CSV (Comma-Separated Values) file, comes in handy.

CSV files are ideal for transferring large amounts of data between programs that may not necessarily be compatible. For instance, you may need to upload your Excel spreadsheet to a database that only accepts CSV files. Moreover, CSV files are text-based and can be read by any text editor, adding to their versatility.

This process is beneficial for anyone working with data – whether you’re a student, a business professional, or a researcher. By converting Excel files to CSV, you ensure that your data can be easily accessed and utilized across various platforms, promoting efficiency and productivity. Let’s dive into how this is done.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: Creating a Comma Delimited File From Excel

Before we start, ensure you have your data correctly formatted in Excel. This means having all the information you want to be exported neatly organized in rows and columns.

Step 1: Open your Excel spreadsheet

Open the Excel file that contains the data you want to convert to a CSV format.

Excel files are typically saved as .xlsx or .xls files. To convert this data into a CSV format, you first need to open the original Excel file in the Microsoft Excel program. This is the starting point for the conversion process.

Step 2: Click on ‘File’ and then ‘Save As’

After your spreadsheet is open, click on the ‘File’ tab located in the upper-left corner of the window, then select ‘Save As’ from the dropdown menu.

The ‘Save As’ function allows you to create a copy of your Excel file in a different format. This will not change your original Excel file, but will create a new file that is formatted as a CSV.

Step 3: Choose the location to save your file

In the ‘Save As’ dialog box, pick the location on your computer where you want to save the new CSV file.

It’s important to choose a location that is easily accessible, like your Desktop or Documents folder, so you can find the file after it’s been saved.

Step 4: Name your file

In the ‘File name’ field, type in the name you want for your CSV file.

Be descriptive with the file name so that it’s clear what data the file contains. This will help you and others identify the file easily in the future.

Step 5: Select ‘CSV (Comma delimited)’ from the ‘Save as type’ dropdown menu

In the ‘Save As’ dialog box, click on the ‘Save as type’ dropdown menu and select ‘CSV (Comma delimited)’.

By choosing ‘CSV (Comma delimited)’, you are instructing Excel to save the file in a text format where each value within your cells will be separated by a comma.

Step 6: Click ‘Save’

After selecting the CSV format, click on the ‘Save’ button to convert and save your file.

When you click ‘Save’, Excel may display a couple of prompts warning you that some features in your workbook may be lost. Since CSV files only save text and values (not formulas or formatting), click ‘Yes’ to continue.


Easy Data TransferCSV files facilitate the easy transfer of data between different programs or platforms.
UniversalityCSV files are universally compatible and can be opened by almost any application that handles data.
Smaller File SizeCSV files typically have a smaller file size compared to Excel files, making them easier to store and share.

CSV files are a popular choice for data transfer because they are easily read and processed by most software programs, including databases and contact management systems. They are plain text files, so they’re also universally compatible across different operating systems.

CSV files can be opened with any application that processes data, making them a versatile choice for transferring data. This includes programs like Microsoft Access, MySQL, and even simple text editors like Notepad.

The smaller file size of CSV files compared to Excel files is an advantage when it comes to storage and sharing. They take up less space on your hard drive and are quicker to send over the internet or load into a program.


Loss of FormattingCSV files do not retain the formatting from Excel, such as cell colors or borders.
No Support for Multiple SheetsCSV files can only support a single sheet, whereas Excel can handle multiple.
Loss of FormulasAny formulas in the Excel file will be lost, as CSV files only save the values.

When you convert an Excel file to CSV, all the visual formatting (such as fonts, colors, and cell shading) is lost. This is because CSV files only contain plain text and commas to separate the values.

CSV files are limited to a single sheet of data. If your Excel file has multiple tabs or sheets, you’ll need to save each one as a separate CSV file.

Formulas in Excel are not transferred to the CSV file. Instead, the CSV will only display the resulting values. If you need to maintain the formulas, you’ll have to keep the original Excel file.

Additional Information

Creating a comma delimited file from Excel is quite straightforward, but there are some additional tips and tricks that can help you along the way. For instance, if your data contains commas within the cells themselves, Excel will automatically enclose those cells in quotation marks in the CSV file. This ensures that the commas are not mistaken for delimiters.

Another tip is to double-check your data before saving as CSV. Since formulas are not carried over, you want to make sure that all the cells display the correct values. It’s also a good idea to clean up any unnecessary blank rows or columns, as these will show up as lots of commas in your CSV file.

Remember, once you save a file in CSV format, any changes you make to that file must be saved again in CSV format. You cannot simply hit the ‘Save’ button, as it will default to Excel’s format. Always use ‘Save As’ to ensure you’re maintaining the CSV file structure.


  1. Open your Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Click on ‘File’ and then ‘Save As’.
  3. Choose the location to save your file.
  4. Name your file.
  5. Select ‘CSV (Comma delimited)’ from the ‘Save as type’ dropdown menu.
  6. Click ‘Save’.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CSV file?

A CSV file is a simple text file that uses commas to separate values. It’s often used to transfer data between different applications.

Can I convert a CSV file back to Excel?

Yes, you can open a CSV file in Excel and then save it as an Excel file to regain the additional features and formatting options.

Will my formulas be saved in the CSV file?

No, CSV files do not support Excel formulas. They will only display the final values calculated by those formulas.

Can I save a CSV file with multiple sheets?

No, each sheet must be saved as a separate CSV file since the format does not support multiple sheets.

What should I do if my data contains commas?

Excel will automatically enclose cells that contain commas in quotation marks when you save as a CSV file. This prevents confusion with the delimiters.


Creating a comma delimited file from Excel can be a game-changer when it comes to data portability and management. The process is quite simple and can save you time and hassle, especially if you need to share data with someone who doesn’t use Excel.

Remember to double-check your data before converting and be aware of the limitations of CSV files. With this knowledge, you’re now equipped to handle your data with even greater flexibility. Keep exploring and experimenting with Excel and CSV files to become a data management pro!

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