Configuring your computer to read CSV files

CSV files are basic text files where commas separate values and periods are decimal points. The first line contains the column names, also separated by commas. For example:


The bad news is that some computers expect semicommas to separate values with commas as decimal marks.


In Windows 7, the following system settings will make it easier to import CSV files into Excel:

Control Panel - Region and Language - Additional settings
Decimal symbol = .
Digit grouping symbol = ,
List separator = ,

In Windows 8, the menu is accessed in a similar way:

Control Panel - Clock, Language, and Region - Additional settings


As for Excel, it's best to let the above system settings apply. This is the default option in Excel:

File - Options - Advanced - Use system separators = Yes

Other software

Most other software, such as R and LibreOffice, can import CSV files without changing the system settings.