Q: When I export content from the CMS, Excel converts foreign or special characters into an unreadable format...how can I fix it?
A: The full explanation for why this occurs is highly technical, and is related to how Excel converts .csv files.
The easiest way around this issue is to open the file in an application that allows for better handling of .csv file conversions than Excel does, such as Google Sheets. Google Sheets is a free in-browser application with a wide array of add-ons to make working in the spreadsheet even easier. To access this program, go to https://www.google.com/sheets/about/
There are a number of other free spreadsheet options also available:
- Numbers (Mac compatible spreadsheet option) works really well with special characters, and this is a built-in app on Macs.
- LibreOffice is another great free alternative that works on PCs and Macs. To download this program, go to https://www.libreoffice.org.
- Apache's Open Office is also a free program available for PCs and Macs. To download this program, go to https://www.openoffice.org. This program is not only specific to spreadsheets, however, and may include other file programs which might be unnecessary for your situation, especially if your computer already has the Microsoft Office suite.
Q: Why does Excel open my .csv file with all the content combined in the first column of the sheet as a single block of text and how do I fix it?
A: Many of our European clients open the downloaded CSV file in Excel and find it to be combined with a single string of text in the first column. This happens because often times Europeans use semicolons to delimit their .csv's instead of commas. On American operating system versions, the comma is set as the default for the "List Separator", which is ok for .csv files, but on European operating system versions this character is often reserved as the decimal symbol and the "List Separator" is set by default to the semicolon.
Once you've completed the steps outlined below, restart Excel and the .csv file should open in the proper format.
To fix this on a Mac:
- Go to your Mac System Preferences.
- Go to Language & Region
- Advanced --> General
- Make sure that you have both Grouping settings are set to "," and both Decimal settings are set to "."
To fix this on a Windows PC:
- Go to the Start Menu
- Go to your Control Panel
- Click Region and Language options
- Click the Additional Settings button
- Set Decimal Symbol to "." and List Separator to "," in your Numbers and Currency tabs