Q: When I open the CSV file on my desktop with Excel international characters appear incorrectly.
This is a known issue with Excel. A workaround on Windows PCs is to open the CSV file with Notepad and save it by selecting "UFT8" as the encoding method at the bottom of the "Save" dialog.
On Mac desktops the TextEdit application can be used in a similar way, specifying "Save As: UTF8 file".
Once the CSV has been saved in UFT8 format it can be opened with Excel.
Q: When I open the CSV file on my desktop with Excel some phone numbers show up in scientific notation (e.g. 1.92E10)
Highlight all columns containing phone numbers, right click on the selection, choose "Format Cells" and then select Text and choose OK. Right click the selection again, choose "Format Cells" again, and this time choose General. Once you click OK there should be no more phone numbers in scientific notation.
Q: When I open the CSV file on my desktop with Excel some international phone numbers are being treated as formulas (e.g. the phone number is +1-123-456-7890 but what I see is -8468 which is the result of subtracting those numbers)
Highlight all columns containing phone numbers, click the Find & Select button on the Home tab in Excel, choose Replace, and then enter an equals sign (=) in the Find what: text field, and enter a plus sign (+) in the Replace with: text field. Then choose Replace All and all phone numbers should display correctly.
Q: When I open the CSV file on my desktop with Excel some fields spill over into new rows instead of containing line breaks
There is a known issue with Excel in which line breaks inside fields will be incorrectly parsed if you open the CSV while inside Excel using File->Open or the Import Wizard or the Get External Data, From Text option. In general, if you close the Excel app, and simply double click the CSV file to open it, line breaks inside data items should not cause problems.
Q: When I open the CSV file on my desktop with Excel all fields appear in a single column!
Sometimes Excel fails to detect that fields are separated by commas. Instead of double-clicking the CSV to open Excel automatically please do this:
- Save the CSV to your desktop
- Launch Excel
- From Excel's File menu, do File -> Open, open the CSV file
- This will launch the Text Import Wizard, step 1 asks you to confirm the data type: chose "Delimited" as File Type and "65001: Unicode (UTF-8)" as File Origin
- Step 2 asks you to select the delimiter: uncheck "Tab" and select "Comma"
- Click Next if you wish to control the way data is handled, otherwise click Finish
See this Excel tip
for a longer discussion of this issue.