How to Open .CSV File In Excel, Google Sheets And Notepad

This tutorial explains how to Open CSV Files to access your data. Learn multiple ways to open the CSV file format on various applications:

Ever came across a CSV file on your system, and when asked what application you want it to open, you had no idea?

Many of you must have been in this situation. We are here to make sure that it never happens again. In this article, we are going to tell you how to open a CSV file, if you come across one.

Let us begin by understanding what is CSV file.

What Is A CSV File


A Comma Separated Values file, or CSV file as we know it, is a plain text file containing a list of data. Sometimes, it is also called Character Separated Values or Comma Delimited files.


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These files are often used to exchange data between various applications. Usually, a comma character is used for delimiting or separating the data, hence the name. But sometimes other characters like a semicolon are also used for the purpose. The idea of this format is to be able to export complex data to a CSV file and then import that file into another application.

How Does It Look Like

A CSV file looks very simple, as simple as a file with data separated by commas. For example, if you export your contacts from the contact manager to a CSV file, you will see it like this:

Name, Email, Phone Number, Address

This is a CSV file. But it can be complicated and can contain numerous lines with many entries, or long strings of texts. Some don’t even have headers and some might use quotation marks to surround the data. But all of it is just a basic format. This simplicity is a feature of CSV files as they are designed to easily export and import data.

How To Open A CSV File

Here are some applications you can use to open the CSV file.

#1) Microsoft Excel

Link: Microsoft Excel


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Microsoft Excel

If you have Excel installed, just double-click on the CSV file. When asked about what program you want to open with, select Microsoft Excel.

Here’s how to open a CSV file in Excel:

  • Open Excel
  • Go to Files
  • Select Open
  • Click on the CSV file you want to open
  • Click Open

If you can’t see the file you want to open, change the file type to Text Files (*.prn, *.txt, *.csv).

To import the CSV file data into an existing spreadsheet on Excel 2010-2016:

  • Select Data
  • Go to Get External Data group
  • Click on From Text/CSV


  • Select the CSV file you want to import
  • Click import
  • In the Text Import Wizard, select Delimited
  • Click Next


  • In the next step, click on Tab if you are converting a TXT file and Comma if you are converting a CSV file.

click on Tab

  • Click Next
  • In the next step, select general and click Finish.
  • You will be in the Import Data dialogue box

In older versions of Excel:

  • Select Load to load the data on a new worksheet.
  • Select Load to load the data to a table or existing worksheet.
  • Click on Transform Data to edit the data before getting it to Excel.

For Newer Versions:

  • Click Existing worksheet to return the data to the selected location.
  • Click New worksheet to return the data to the upper-left corner of a new worksheet.

And last, save the file.

#2) OpenOffice Calc

Link: OpenOffice Calc

Price: Free

OpenOffice Calc

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Here’s how to open .csv file in OpenOffice Calc

  • Install the OpenOffice Calc
  • Double-click on the CSV file
  • Select OpenOffice Calc when prompted to ask which program you want to open it with.


  • Open OpenOffice Calc
  • Go to File
  • Click on Open
  • Select the CSV file you want to open
  • Click Open

#3) Google Sheets

Link: Google Sheets

Price: Free

Google Sheets

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Here’s how to open a CSV file in Google Sheets

  • Open the Google Sheets
  • Click on File
  • Select Import

Select Import

  • Select the Upload tab
  • Click on Select a file from your system

Click on Select a file from your system

  • Select the CSV file you want to open
  • Click Import Data

#4) Text Editor or Notepad

Link: Text Editor or Notepad

Price: Free

Text Editor or Notepad

To open a CSV file in text editor or Notepad,

  • Go to the CSV file you want to open
  • Right-click on it
  • Go to Open With
  • Select Notepad or Notepad++


  • Right-click on the CSV file
  • Select Edit with Notepad++

You will see plain text in your Notepad. If the data is hard to read,

  • Go to Format
  • Click on Word Wrap to disable it.

This will improve the readability.

Also Read =>> How to Open .DAT File

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) Can I convert a CSV file into PDF?

Answer: To convert a CSV file into a PDF, first download a PDF printer on your system like NovaPDF. Now open the CSV file in Notepad. Then click on the File menu and select print. In the print window, select the PDF Printer from the Printer dropdown list. Click on Print and then select OK in the “Save as PDF file” window. Your CSV is converted into a PDF.

Or, you can use online converters to convert a CSV file into PDFs like Zamzar or Cloud Convert.

Q #2) What does a CSV file do?

Answer: A CSV file allows data to be saved in a tabular format. It is used to export and import data easily from one application to another.

Q #3) How to open a CSV file without Excel?

Answer: You can open the CSV file on Google Sheet, Notepad, or OpenOffice Calc. Just right-click on the file, select Open With and pick either OpenOffice Calc or Notepad. To open in Google Sheets, go to the File option in Google Sheet, click import, select the CSV file you want to open, click import.

Q #4) Why is my CSV file not working?

Answer: This usually happens when the file is too large, or there are too many fields or records, or too many columns or rows.


So, if you ever need to take the data from one application and put it in another, you can do that easily with CSV file format. And now that you know how to open a .csv file, it will be easier for you to work with.

Usually, Excel or Google sheet is the best option for opening the CSV file, but you can also try Notepad and OpenOffice Calc if you want your data there.