In order to import a database or contact list into bulk email platforms, it is very often useful or even necessary to convert your XLSX files into CSV files. But what is a ‘CSV-file’ and what exactly is it used for? In ‘Comma Separated Value‘ files, each line of the file is a data record. This is one of the most popular formats used by email marketing platforms, where each data record consists of several fields, separated by commas.

What is CSV?

CSV files, an acronym for ‘Coma Separated Values‘, and they are characterised by elements in tabular format, in the form of text, separated by commas or semicolons. Each line of the file is a data record. And each data record consists of several fields.

Coma Separated Values means that the CSV is a file that contains data that is actually separated by commas. Spreadsheet applications (such as Microsoft Excel) convert that comma-separated data into tables with columns and cells to ensure easy readability and editing.

Basically, CSVs are text files. For this reason, they can be opened and viewed with any software that supports reading text-files, even such as ‘Notepad’.

How to convert an XLS or XLSX file to CSV format

In some sectors, such as email marketing, CSV is a widely used format. Some bulk email platforms, in fact, only allow the import of address books and contact lists if they are contained within a CSV file. It is for this reason that it is useful to know how to create this type of file, even starting from standard Excel formats such as XLS or XLSX, formats used for example by Bancomail when delivering its email lists. In other words, it is essential to transform your XLSX into CSV.

If you work with Microsoft Excel, the conversion procedure is straightforward and very fast. Simply open the XLSX file with Excel and, if necessary, select the spreadsheet with the database to be transformed. Next, go to the top menu “File” –> “Save As” and choose the desired saving format, which in this case will be “CSV UTF-8 (comma delimited) .CSV”.  A corresponding CSV-file is then created, with all the advantages mentioned above.

Converting an XLS or XLSX into CSV without Microsoft Excel

If, on the other hand, you do not have Microsoft Excel, the best method is to download the Open Source program ‘Open Office‘, which also offers the possibility of opening and editing spreadsheets. After downloading the software for free from the official website, you can open the desired file with Open Office and, in the same way as with Microsoft Excel, go to ‘File’ –> ‘Save as’ and choose the .csv format. In this way you have, for example, saved your list of pharmacies in the UK as a CSV-File.

Useful tips for converting XLSX to CSV

Since the ‘,’ (Comma) in CSVs is used as a separator between columns, it may be a good idea to ensure that there is no ‘,’ (Comma)  or ‘;’ (Semicolon) within the text contained in the cells. Some software and platforms for importing .csv files may in fact confuse the comma inside the cell with the separator, creating a wrong output.