CSV file icon

CSV File Extension

Comma Separated Values Format

What is CSV file?

CSV is a file format that stores various types of data saved in character-separated text sets, typically with a comma character, hence the format’s name - Comma Separated Value. CSV standard is defined in RFC 4180. Data records are separated using new line character, while record values are commonly enclosed in double-quote characters. First line in CSV file contains field names, although CSV specification doesn’t define its header structure. Record fields may be separated using:

  • Commas,
  • Semicolons,
  • Tabs,
  • Other characters – consistently used for given document.

CSV files are used for storing, importing, and exporting data in well-defined, platform-independent format. As the choice of separator character is unrestricted, it can sometimes cause issues during conversion, therefore data import wizards or filters must offer an option to configure the separator to be used, as is the case with various office-type applications. Most programming languages offer a dedicated libraries designed for importing and man a ging CSV files.

Programs which support CSV file extension

The following list contains programs grouped by 4 operating systems that support CSV files. Files with CSV suffix can be copied to any mobile device or system platform, but it may not be possible to open them properly on target system.

Updated: 06/23/2020

How to open file with CSV extension?

Being unable to open files with CSV extension can be have various origins. What is important, all common issues related to files with CSV extension can be resolved by the users themselves. The process is quick and doesn’t involve an IT expert. We have prepared a listing of which will help you resolve your problems with CSV files.

Step 1. Get the Microsoft Excel

Install software to open CSV file Problems with opening and working with CSV files are most probably having to do with no proper software compatible with CSV files being present on your machine. The most obvious solution is to download and install Microsoft Excel or one to the listed programs: Apache OpenOffice, Microsoft Works, LibreOffice. Above you will find a complete listing of programs that support CSV files, classified according to system platforms for which they are available. If you want to download Microsoft Excel installer in the most secured manner, we suggest you visit Microsoft Corporation website and download from their official repositories.

Step 2. Verify the you have the latest version of Microsoft Excel

Update software that support file extension CSVYou still cannot access CSV files although Microsoft Excel is installed on your system? Make sure that the software is up to date. Sometimes software developers introduce new formats in place of that already supports along with newer versions of their applications. This can be one of the causes why CSV files are not compatible with Microsoft Excel. All of the file formats that were handled just fine by the previous versions of given program should be also possible to open using Microsoft Excel.

Step 3. Assign Microsoft Excel to CSV files

After installing Microsoft Excel (the most recent version) make sure that it is set as the default application to open CSV files. The method is quite simple and varies little across operating systems.

Associate software with CSV file on Windows

The procedure to change the default program in Windows

  • Right-click the CSV file and choose Open with option
  • Select Choose another app → More apps
  • To finalize the process, select Look for another app on this PC entry and using the file explorer select the Microsoft Excel installation folder. Confirm by checking Always use this app to open CSV files box and clicking OK button.
Associate software with CSV file on Mac

The procedure to change the default program in Mac OS

  • By clicking right mouse button on the selected CSV file open the file menu and choose Information
  • Proceed to the Open with section. If its closed, click the title to access available options
  • From the list choose the appropriate program and confirm by clicking Change for all....
  • A message window should appear informing that This change will be applied to all files with CSV extension. By clicking Continue you confirm your selection.

Step 4. Verify that the CSV is not faulty

If you followed the instructions form the previous steps yet the issue is still not solved, you should verify the CSV file in question. It is probable that the file is corrupted and thus cannot be accessed.

Check CSV file for viruses
1. The CSV may be infected with malware – make sure to scan it with an antivirus tool.

Should it happed that the CSV is infected with a virus, this may be that cause that prevents you from accessing it. It is advised to scan the system for viruses and malware as soon as possible or use an online antivirus scanner. If the scanner detected that the CSV file is unsafe, proceed as instructed by the antivirus program to neutralize the threat.

2. Ensure the file with CSV extension is complete and error-free

If you obtained the problematic CSV file from a third party, ask them to supply you with another copy. The file might have been copied erroneously and the data lost integrity, which precludes from accessing the file. If the CSV file has been downloaded from the internet only partially, try to redownload it.

3. Verify whether your account has administrative rights

Some files require elevated access rights to open them. Switch to an account that has required privileges and try opening the Comma Separated Values Format file again.

4. Make sure that the system has sufficient resources to run Microsoft Excel

The operating systems may note enough free resources to run the application that support CSV files. Close all running programs and try opening the CSV file.

5. Check if you have the latest updates to the operating system and drivers

Up-to-date system and drivers not only makes your computer more secure, but also may solve problems with Comma Separated Values Format file. Outdated drivers or software may have caused the inability to use a peripheral device needed to handle CSV files.

Conversion of a CSV file

File Conversions from CSV extension to a different format
File conversions from other format to CSV file
Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the CSV file, we will be grateful if you share it with our users. To do this, use the form here and send us your information on CSV file.

Top File Extensions
Show more
File Extension of the day
ods icon


OpenDocument Spreadsheet

Files with the .ODS extension contain compressed spreadsheet files, stored in an open format based on XML . The ODS standard, which is an element o...

Last updated