What Characterizes Excel From CSV, And When Should Each Be Used

Excel is used every day by data scientists, people who work in finance and accounting, and bookkeepers. Freelancers use Excel to manage their own money and track what they spend. Excel is well-known for its many uses and purposes, especially in data analysis, visualization, math functions, and financial calculations.

CSV format is not as popular as Excel document format (.xlsx or.xls), and people try to avoid it as much as possible when they can download a report in CSV format or when that format is required.

This is because your look less appealing in CSV format, and you may wonder how to get a nice-looking Excel spreadsheet again.

In reality, it's easy to switch between.xls(x) and.csv format, so don't worry if you find a document in.csv format.

Before we tell you how to switch from one Excel format to another, let's look at how Excel and CSV are different.

When should you use Excel vs CSV?

The CSV file format stores only plain text in a series of cells separated by commas. The XLS (Excel spreadsheet) file is a binary file, storing both content and formatting information. It can also keep charts, visuals, and other added images.

The benefit of a CSV file is that it can be opened and looked at in any text editor. On the other hand, an Excel spreadsheet can only be opened in programs that are made to read that format, like Microsoft Excel. In other words, CSV files can be used on any operating system and in many different programs.

You should save your file as CSV if you want to keep your data and be able to see it everywhere. On the other hand, if your data's format is important, don't use CSV. Instead, use XLS (a regular Excel spreadsheet).

Even though Excel is much better at displaying and analyzing data than CSV, CSV format is still useful because it is easy to use and can be found everywhere.

So, to sum up, you should use the CSV file format when these things happen:

  • When you want to open your file on different computers
  • When the layout and format don't matter
  • When you need to send a file to a certain place
  • For everything else, use an Excel spreadsheet (.xls or.xlsx):

  • To present data visually
  • To create compelling data charts
  • To use Excel functions
  • And any other complex data manipulations.
  • How to Transform Excel into CSV

    You can have your document in both formats and choose which one to use based on what you are doing. For example, if you only have an Excel file in the.xls(x) format, you can save it as an a.csv file.

    Click Save as on the File menu.

    Choose where you wish your file to be saved.

    Click the green box that says "Excel workbook" to open the drop-down menu, then choose "CSV" from the list of formats. The format of your file will be CSV.

    How to Split Excel Cells

    You might run into many problems that slow you down when you work with Excel. There are a lot of helpful Excel tips online, and they are easy to find and use. It's easy to find answers to common Excel problems but harder to find answers to less common ones. When working with tabular data, you may find it hard to split cells in Excel. Often, the wrong information is put into one cell, and you need to make more cells to separate it.

    Excel doesn't have a way to split one cell into multiple smaller cells, but there is still a way to split cells in Excel. Following the steps below, you can split content and put it in different cells.

    First, choose the cells that you want to divide. When you click on the Data menu, a toolbar like the one below will appear.

    Click on Text to Columns in the Data Tools tab, then click on Delimited. When you click on Text to Columns, a window asks you to choose between Delimited and Fixed Width.

    Then click "Next," and a new set of choices will appear.

    At the top of the window, you'll see a list of delimiters. You should check the box next to the one that works best. You can pick more than one delimiter, in which case you should check the box that says Treat consecutive delimiters as one. The data preview panel shows what the data will look like when split into multiple cells.

    When you click the Next button again, you can set the options in the Column data format area to format the column data.

    When you're done formatting, click the Finish button.

    Notes supplementary:

    When working with a lot of data, you must first make a copy of the spreadsheet and then use Excel to split the cells.

    If you are asked to replace the content of the destination cells, cancel the operation, choose a different delimiter, and change the data in the original column.

    No matter how often you use Excel, learning more about it will help you analyze data and do other things with it.