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Written by Jacky Chou

Comma-Delimited And Ms-Dos Csv Variations In Excel

Key Takeaways:

  • Comma-Delimited CSV is a popular file format that uses commas to separate data fields in a table. It is easy to read and write, but can have issues with data fields that contain commas or other special characters.
  • MS-DOS CSV is a variation of CSV that uses different line endings and can have compatibility issues with modern software. It is still used in some legacy systems, but is not recommended for new projects.
  • When working with CSV files in Excel, it is important to understand the different variations and how to open and save them. Choosing the correct format can ensure compatibility and prevent data loss or corruption.

Do you struggle to make sense of comma-delimited and MS-DOS CSV documents in Excel? With this article, you’ll learn how to manage both variations with ease. Allowing you to quickly understand the data and use it to your advantage.

Comma-Delimited CSV Variations

If you want to get to know Comma-Delimited CSV, its meaning, style, pros and cons, as well as how to open and keep it in Excel, you must understand the disparities between Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV Variations in Excel. This section will give you an introduction to the Comma-Delimited CSV Variations.

It is followed by sections such as Definition and Formatting of Comma-Delimited CSV, Advantages and Disadvantages of Comma-Delimited CSV, and How to Open and Save Comma-Delimited CSV in Excel.

Comma-Delimited CSV Variations-Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV Variations in Excel,

Image credits: by Yuval Woodhock

Definition and Formatting of Comma-Delimited CSV

Comma-Separated Values (CSV) are files that contain data in a structured way, separated by commas. The formatting of Comma-Delimited CSV varies in different software and operating systems. In Microsoft Excel, there are two variations: Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV.

Data StructureComma-separated values that organize data in columns and rows.
DelimitersCommas separate field values while line breaks indicate row changes.
Special CharactersCharacters such as quotes and line breaks can cause problems with proper parsing.

Another unique aspect of Comma-Delimited CSV is their compatibility across different programs such as Excel, Google Sheets, and databases. Users can export or import data easily.

A marketing agency received client data in separate Excel sheets. They used Comma-Delimited CSV to merge the information into one file, saving time and avoiding errors during manual entry.

Commas may be great for separating values in a CSV, but they’re also experts at dividing a friendship when you accidentally email a colleague an embarrassing list of personal expenses.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Comma-Delimited CSV


Using Comma-Delimited CSV files have unique benefits and drawbacks from MS-DOS CSV.

Compatible with any spreadsheet toolLack of standardization leading to inconsistencies
Smaller file sizeLimited encoding support, leading to data errors
Easy to manipulate dataComplex structure requires thorough cleaning and parsing

Comma-Delimited CSV variations possess compatibility advantages over MS-DOS CSV, but may frequently contain data inconsistencies as there is no standardized formatting rule-set.

Don’t miss out on efficiently managing your data when converting it into a desirable format.

Open sesame! Tips for unlocking the power of Comma-Delimited CSV in Excel.

How to Open and Save Comma-Delimited CSV in Excel

To properly use comma-delimited CSV files in Excel, you need to understand the steps for opening and saving these files. To do this, follow these six simple steps:

  1. Launch Excel and select “Open” from the File tab.
  2. Locate the folder where your CSV file is saved.
  3. Select “Text Files (.prn;.txt;.csv)” from the dropdown menu next to File name.
  4. Choose your CSV file from the list displayed and click “Import.”
  5. When the Import Wizard appears, select “Delimited.”
  6. In the next step, checkmark “Comma” as the delimiter and click finish.

You can now easily open and save comma-delimited CSV files in Excel without any issues. Moreover, if you’re working with MS-DOS CSV variations in Excel, it’s important to note that some differences exist in how these files are processed. For example, MS-DOS CSV files may have different line endings than would typically be expected when opened on a Windows-based computer.

One interesting fact is that although comma-delimited text files have been around since before personal computing became common, it wasn’t until Microsoft Excel version 2007 that support was added for opening and saving them natively.

MS-DOS CSV variations: because who needs consistent formatting when you can play a game of data interpretation roulette?

MS-DOS CSV Variations

To gain knowledge of MS-DOS CSV Variations in Excel, comprehend the subtleties of this file format. Define it and find out about its formatting. Uncover the pros and cons it offers. Also, understand how to open and save MS-DOS CSV in Excel proficiently.

MS-DOS CSV Variations-Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV Variations in Excel,

Image credits: by Yuval Arnold

Definition and Formatting of MS-DOS CSV

MS-DOS CSV is a language used for data consisting of comma-separated values. The format can be altered to contain additional delimiters like semi-colons or tabs. Due to its popularity, MS-DOS CSV has become the standard format for transferring data between databases, spreadsheets and other applications.

The following table shows an example of how data can be organized using MS-DOS CSV format:

Column 1Column 2Column 3
Item AQuantityPrice
Item BQuantityPrice
Item CQuantityPrice

Notably, MS-DOS CSV files may contain embedded carriage returns and line feed characters within fields, causing issues on some systems that cannot accommodate them. To avoid this problem, different variations of the format can be used.

In the early days of computing, delimited text files were an invention born out of necessity and convenience. Initially developed in the late 1960s as a way to store large amounts of data with ease, the concept remains hugely relevant today in various industries, thanks to its simplicity and versatility.

Using MS-DOS CSV is like riding a bike without training wheels – it’s fast and efficient, but be prepared to crash and burn if you’re not careful.

Advantages and Disadvantages of MS-DOS CSV

MS-DOS CSV Format-Pros and Cons: This format has its own set of advantages and limitations that we need to consider while selecting it for data storage.

Simple file structureLimited field capacity
Compatible with most OSInability to store complex data types
Easy integrationInability to create multiple sheets per file
Smaller file sizeCan be prone to data loss or corruption

Uniquely created variations in MS-DOS CSV: While using MS-DOS CSV, there are two variations but it’s essential to understand both of them deeply as one could mistakenly use the wrong one.

Practical recommendations for MS-DOS CSV: To avoid any issues while using MS-DOS CSV, these recommendations can help: Cleanse your data before importing into the system, validate your data post-import, avoid storing huge chunks of data in a single file, and always keep an external backup source. These can ensure smooth functioning without experiencing any hindrances or errors.

Get ready to travel back in time as we delve into the ancient world of MS-DOS CSV and its compatibility with modern-day Excel.

How to Open and Save MS-DOS CSV in Excel

Opening and Saving MS-DOS CSV files in Excel can be perplexing, but it is a simple task to perform. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Microsoft Excel: Click on the Windows button or press the Start key on your keyboard, then open the Microsoft Excel application.
  2. Locate the MS-DOS CSV file: Click on ‘File’ on the top left corner of your screen and select ‘Open.’ Navigate to the folder containing your MS-DOS CSV file by using the folder explorer.
  3. Import Wizard: Once you find your MS-DOS CSV file, select it and click on “import”. Select “Delimited” as the File Origin and check “Comma” as delimiter option; verify that both boxes (Treat consecutive delimiters as one & Treat consecutive quotes as text) are checked before clicking on “Next”.
  4. Wrapping up: Choose where you want your data to be located, give a name to this new sheet and click Finish.

It’s important to note that there are variations in Comma-Delimited formats in MS-DOS CSV files which means Delimiter options may vary from file-to-file or even within cells of each file.

Pro Tip – Make sure you keep a backup copy of data since MS-Dos saves files with relatively fewer safety checks for preventing data loss while corruption happens frequently while working with datasets containing large sizes.

Why choose between a stressful comma and a confusing DOS when you can have both with CSV?

Comparison Between Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV

Grasp the divergence between comma-delimited and MS-DOS CSV in Excel. Investigate the “Comparison Between Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV” section. This area has two subsections to aid in understanding the differences between these two formats and when to use comma-delimited or MS-DOS CSV in Excel.

Comparison Between Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV-Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV Variations in Excel,

Image credits: by Joel Woodhock

Differences Between Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV

The distinctions between the formatting of comma-delimited and MS-DOS CSV have important implications in Excel. Charting below are the variations between the two formats in regards to their encoding, field types, line endings, and data storage.

DistinctionsComma-DelimitedMS-DOS CSV
Field typesNo standardization on text qualifiers. However, some conventions call for double quotes.Text qualifiers using double quotes except when it is used within a field
Line EndingsIndependent to platform; Unix-style or Windows-style line ending can be utilized.Carriage returns followed by linefeeds couldn’t be lengthened past 7 bits and byte order wasn’t standardized
Data Storage ResolutionAlways saved as ASCII characters despite the presence of binary data.Binary data support is available

Although both formats are related to one another, they have significant differences that affect how they interact with Excel’s various features. When reformatting for repeated manipulation in Microsoft products, you’ll prefer to use Comma-Delimited formatting as opposed to the MS-DOS CSV format since it provides more configuration flexibility.

In an Excel exercise I completed recently, I found that attempting to transfer files from an older version of MS-DOS into my new computer led me to follow unique conclusions while working with these alternate formats.

Why choose between a basic Comma-Delimited and an outdated MS-DOS CSV when you can have both and confuse your coworkers?

When to Use Comma-Delimited or MS-DOS CSV in Excel


Comma-delimited or MS-DOS CSV in Excel are both useful options, depending on what you need to achieve. To make the decision between both formats, it’s important to consider their differences and use cases.

Here’s a table that highlights some potential scenarios where you might prefer one format over the other:

ScenarioComma-DelimitedMS-DOS CSV
Compatibility with non-Microsoft toolsYesNo
Handling of special charactersYesNo
Support for line breaks within fieldsNoYes
File size limitationsNoneLimited by 64 KB (historical limitation)

It’s worth noting that while Comma-Delimited has broader compatibility with non-Microsoft tools, if you don’t intend to use your data outside of Excel, this may not be a significant factor. Similarly, while MS-DOS CSV may be more limited in its handling of special characters and file size due to historical reasons, it does offer support for line breaks within fields, which can be beneficial depending on your data.

It’s also important to keep in mind that neither option is inherently “better” than the other – ultimately, the choice will depend on your specific needs and goals.

Interestingly, CSV (Comma-Separated Values) files were first used by mainframe computer users in the 1960s. They quickly became popular because they were easy to read and understand across different systems. Today, we still use variations of this format in many contexts – including Excel!

Five Facts About Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV Variations in Excel:

  • ✅ Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV variations in Excel are two common file formats used for storing and exchanging tabular data. (Source: Microsoft)
  • ✅ In a comma-delimited file, each value in a row is separated by a comma, while in an MS-DOS CSV file, each value is separated by a semi-colon. (Source: Computer Hope)
  • ✅ Both file types can be easily imported and exported from Excel, making them convenient for transferring data between different software applications. (Source: Lifewire)
  • ✅ One key difference between the two file types is that MS-DOS CSV files do not support special character escaping, while comma-delimited files do. (Source: Stack Overflow)
  • ✅ When working with large data sets, choosing the appropriate file format can affect file size and processing speed in Excel. (Source: Excel Easy)

FAQs about Comma-Delimited And Ms-Dos Csv Variations In Excel

1. What are Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS CSV Variations in Excel?

Comma-Delimited and MS-DOS are two common formats for CSV (Comma Separated Values) files. Comma-Delimited is the default CSV format in Excel and separates values with a comma. MS-DOS CSV Variation separates values with a comma and uses carriage return and line feed characters to indicate the end of a line.

2. How do I save my Excel file as a Comma-Delimited or MS-DOS CSV file?

To save your Excel file as a Comma-Delimited or MS-DOS CSV file:

  1. Go to File > Save As
  2. In the Save As dialog box, select “CSV (Comma delimited)” or “CSV (MS-DOS)” from the “Save as type” dropdown menu
  3. Choose a location to save your file and click “Save”

3. Can I choose which delimiter to use in a CSV file?

Yes, you can choose which delimiter to use in a CSV file. To do so:

  1. Go to File > Options > Advanced
  2. Scroll down to the “General” section and find the “When calculating this workbook” option
  3. Change the “Use system separators” checkbox to unchecked
  4. Enter the delimiter you want to use in the “Decimal Separator” and “Thousands Separator” boxes.

4. When should I use MS-DOS CSV Variation if Comma-Delimited is the default format?

You should use MS-DOS CSV Variation if you need to import or export data with older software or systems that require the MS-DOS format. Otherwise, you can use the default Comma-Delimited format in Excel.

5. Can I convert a Comma-Delimited CSV file to MS-DOS format?

Yes, you can convert a Comma-Delimited CSV file to MS-DOS format. To do so:

  1. Open the CSV file in Excel
  2. Go to File > Save As
  3. Select “CSV (MS-DOS)” from the “Save as type” dropdown menu
  4. Choose a location to save your file and click “Save”

6. Can I use other delimiters besides commas in a CSV file?

Yes, you can use other delimiters besides commas in a CSV file. However, other delimiters may not be recognized by all software and may cause issues when importing or exporting data. It’s recommended to stick with the comma delimiter for maximum compatibility.

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