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How to Convert CSV to Excel

Mar 26 2024

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Learn how to convert CSV to Excel. From opening to importing your file, we offer up a few ways to turn your CSV file into a spreadsheet you can start working with in Excel.

Crunching numbers from raw data? Need to organize and analyze it? If you have your data in a .CSV file, knowing how to transfer CSV to Excel is a game-changer.

Not only does using Excel provide you with more capabilities, it also makes it easier to work with large sets of data.

Follow our guide below and we’ll help you convert CSV to Excel, showing you methods for:

  • Opening the CSV file in Excel
  • Importing your CSV into MS Excel
  • Connecting your CSV data to an Excel spreadsheet
  • Saving your CSV as an Excel file

We've got everything you need to know. But if you’re new to working with both of the formats together, we’ll first give you an overview to put things into context.

What is a CSV file?

To start, CSV stands for Comma-Separated Values. It's a widely used text-based file format that uses commas as delimiters that are used for denoting tabular data in a text-based format.

Each line in a CSV file represents a row of data, and each value within a row is separated by a comma, which represents a column.

What is a CSV file commonly used for?

While Excel offers more functionality for data analysis and visualization, CSV is often used for its simplicity, interoperability, and efficiency.

CSV files can be easily opened and read by other applications, including databases, analysis tools, and programming languages.

And because CSV files are text-based, they usually have smaller file sizes, making it ideal for storing or transferring large sets of data.

Why convert CSV to Excel? 

The CSV file format is great for exchanging data, but Excel is the better option if you need to deal with the data hands-on.

Excel provides more advanced data manipulation and analysis features, allowing you to sort, filter, and create charts out of your data.

Also, Excel supports advanced formatting, enabling you to present data in a visually appealing manner - perfect for when you’re collaborating or sharing your data in reports or in meetings. 

How to convert CSV to Excel

So how do you start getting your CSV content into Excel? There are a few ways.

Convert CSV to Excel by opening your file in Excel

The most common way to convert a CSV file is by simply opening it in Excel. By opening the file, you’ll be able to access your raw CSV content.

How to open CSV files in Excel

Open MS Excel and follow the steps below:

1. Go to File > Open

2. Browse to the location that contains the CSV file. If you still can’t find your file, click on the drop-down menu in the lower right-hand corner and select All Files.

Opening a CSV file to convert to Excel

3. Then locate and select your CSV file.

4. Click on Open. Excel will automatically open your CSV file and display the data in a new workbook.

How to open CSV files on Windows

You can also open a CSV file directly from Windows Explorer.

1. On your computer, browse to the location that contains your CSV file.

2. Right-click on your CSV file.

3. In the context menu, select Open with > Excel. The CSV file will then open in an Excel workbook.

Convert CSV into Excel using the Text Import Wizard

You can also import CSV to Excel to convert your data. Importing your file is a more advanced way to pull your data into more functional spreadsheets.

By importing your data, you can customize how it gets displayed before you even open your CSV in Excel. You can do this with the Text Import Wizard.

Now this is a legacy feature for Excel and, as such, you’ll need to enable the Text Import Wizard first in the more recent versions of Excel:

1. In Excel, go to File > Options > Data.

2. Under "Show legacy data import wizards," check the From Text (Legacy) option and click on OK.

Enabling Import Text Wizard

Once you’re done, follow the steps below in a new worksheet:

1. Go to the Data tab > Get & Transform Data > Get Data > Legacy Wizards > From Text (Legacy).

2. In the “Import Text File” dialog box, double-click on your CSV file, and the Text Import Wizard will open.

3. In the next three dialog boxes, select your options to preview how your data will look when it’s in an Excel spreadsheet.

Text Import Wizard

4. When you’re done going through the dialog boxes, click on Finish.

5. Lastly, choose where and how you want your data displayed, and click on OK.

Convert CSV to Excel by connecting your data to a spreadsheet

You can also convert a CSV to Excel by connecting the data. Doing so lets you reference and link to the original CSV data from your spreadsheet.

In other words, you can continue to work with the latest updates to your CSV file without having to redo or set up your entire worksheet again.

For this method, we'll only cover the most basic steps to get your CSV data into Excel.

You can visit this guide on connecting data to Excel for more details on creating, testing, and customizing your data connections.

1. Go to the Data tab > Get & Transform Data > Get Data >From Text/CSV.

2. Select your CSV file and click on Import.

3. In the dialog that appears, you can adjust the settings for Excel to import your CSV file.

Note that Excel will have some pre-populated options, which you can leave as-is to simplify the process.

Connecting CSV data to Excel

4. Click on Load. This option will import your CSV data into a new worksheet.

You can also click on the drop-down arrow and select Load to if you want your CSV data to be placed and displayed in a specific way, such as within a PivotChart, a table, or a new worksheet.

You can easily update your Excel table with any changes made to the original .CSV by clicking on Table Design tab > Refresh.

How to save CSV file as an Excel spreadsheet

Lastly, to fully convert CSV to Excel automatically, you need to save your file as an Excel spreadsheet. Once you’re done working with your data, simply follow these steps: 

1. Go to File > Save As.

2. In the drop-down list of file formats, select Excel Workbook (*.xlsx).

3. Specify a location, a file name, and click on Save.

Work effectively with CSV, Excel, and Xodo!

Now that you know how to transform raw data into dynamic spreadsheets by opening and importing your CSV file into Excel, you can instantly start using Excel’s advanced features to analyze your information.

With just a few steps, you can start realizing the full potential of your data. If you have tabular data in a PDF document rather than CSV, you can use Xodo to quickly convert PDF to Excel and work with that data, as well.

Looking to do more with Excel? We've got a few Xodo guides for more ways to work effectively with the app:

Check out Xodo and the 30+ digital document tools to further streamline your workflow.

Explore Xodo Tools
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Reena Cruz

PDF Productivity Expert

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