Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

CSV fileShort for Comma-separated values, CSV is tabular data that has been saved as plaintext data separated by commas.

For example, if you had a table similar to the example below, that data would be converted to the CSV data shown below the table.

Data1 Data2 Data3
Example1 Example2 Example3
Example1 Example2 Example3

CSV Data


As can be seen in the above example, each row is a new line, and each column is separated with a comma. Many online services such as an online bank allow its users to export tabular data from the website into a CSV file. These files can then be opened and viewed offline using a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel.

Why are CSV files used?

There are two primary reasons CSV files are used online.

  1. CSV files are plain-text files, which makes them easy for the website developer to create.
  2. Because the CSV is plain-text it makes the data easy to import into any spreadsheet program or database regardless of what type of computer or software program you are using.

Comma, Delimiter, Flat file