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How can we improve Excel for Windows (Desktop Application)?

Support saving CSV in UTF-8 encoding

Currently, if I create a CSV file with Excel, it can only be saved in ANSI format, turning all special characters to garbage. I would like to be able to save it in UTF-8.

I know I can save it in the "unicode text" format, but the problems with that are:
1) It uses tabs instead of comma.
2) The encoding is not UTF-8, making it alien to other applications.

250 votes
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We’ll send you updates on this idea

Doron Yaacoby shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
completed  ·  Dan Battagin [MS XL] responded  · 

2016-11-01——————-

Great news here folks – we’ve completed our work on this feature and Excel will support a new CSV format using UTF-8 encoding.

This fix still needs to make it through our release pipeline, but you should see it as an option once you have a build equal to or later than 16.0.7466.2023.

Cheers,
Dan [MS]

2016-06-28———————-
Good news – we’ve started work on this.
Cheers,
Dan [MS]


older——————-
Thanks for the suggestion Doron. As Dan mentioned in the comments, we’re watching this one. I’ve seen a number of other suggestions related to CSVs as well. We’ll keep our eyes open here and take a look at the highly voted things in this space. As always, keep the votes coming to help us do a good job prioritizing your favorite asks to the top.
Cheers,
John [MS XL]

31 comments

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  • Jho Besas commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I would like to ask for assistance in maintaining data when saving it to csv utf 8 format.like for example 11-13, when saved in csv utf 8 format it changes into nov. 13.I would like to save it as 11-13 but it changes after saving in csv utf 8 format, please help.would appreciate the assistance very much.thanks

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Excel 2016 (16.0.6741.2048), still no option for CSV encoding.
    I've tried to change encoding in "Internet options" but it does not affect encoding at all.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    As of Version 1701 (Build 7766.2099), the CSV file open routine still doesn't decode UFT-8 files properly, and the steps to open a CSV file doesn't give the user a chance to force it expect UTF-8 encoding. Also, the data import function fails because fields with embedded line feed characters are not kept in a single cell as the original file defined them. In other words, even though the field is enclosed in double-quotes, the double-quotes are ignored and the text is split at the line feed characters.

  • Cheryl Johnson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I just installed excel 2016 today just so I could save CSV UTF-8, but that option is still not available in my save as options. How do I add it? thank you!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Thanks for working on this feature. I have noticed the following bug when quotes are present within the value of a cell. For example, if a cell contains:

    GREY 18" DEEP

    It is showing up in the csv as:

    "GREY 18" DEEP""REY 1"

    when it should show up as:

    "GREY 18"" DEEP"

    See https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/office/en-US/7ef22ff5-b681-4175-baf3-e36ad89a2807/save-as-csv-utf8-comma-delimited-csv-bug?forum=Office2016ITPro for more information.

  • AdminDan Battagin [MS XL] (Admin, Office.com) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    We haven't revamped CSV functionality beyond supporting the UTF-8 encoding. There are several other CSV ideas here on UserVoice - we'd love to have folks vote on the importance of those, or add additional ideas for other CSV changes (please add one UV idea per improvement)

    Cheers,
    Dan [MS]

  • Gjuro Kladaric commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    and what about this (of june 28, 2016):

    "you should also add an option to select a separator char...

    and you should allow for an option to export strings as quoted values (with quotecharacters within string [being] specified as double quotes or \"s)...

    and you should allow for an option to choose between a decimal point or a comma (defaulted to windows regional settings but overridable)...

    and yes, reading .csv files should be able to handle all this varietes :-)

    with a [very] special additional option: "import everything as text!!!" :-)

    thanks..."

  • Bjørn Grønbæk commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hey Dan. According to my Excel, I should have received this feature with the latest update, but I'm still not able to choose anything other than the regular CSV type.
    Are there any documentation of this feature anywhere, so I can find out how to enable this?

  • Martin.S commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    it is soon october and that isnt still implemented ? You gotta be kidding.

  • Jan Novák commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I dont know why Excel don't support UTF-8 now in 2016?

    Save CSV file in UTF-8 is very important for multilangulal files with diacritics (Europian languages, chinese, russian, ...) for machine export/import and exchange this files within companies, translation agencies etc.

    Now Excel 2016 can read UTF-8 CSV file with BOM, but after edit is saved in diferent encoding (depends on excel/windows language) and saved CSV file lost characters what are not in this encoding.

    So everybody must use openoffice or other utitities to edit and save files back to UTF-8 CSV.

  • Gjuro Kladaric commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    you should also add an option to select a separator char...

    and you should allow for an option to export strings as quoted values (with quotecharacters within string specified as double quotes or \"s)...

    and you should allow for an option to choose between a decimal point or a comma (defaulted to windows regional settings but overridable)...

    and yes, reading .csv files should be able to handle all this varietes :-)

    with a special additional option: "import everything as text!!!" :-)

    thanks...

  • Vincent Corrèze commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Adding to the crowd, this is a huge miss in 2016. Excel should also be able to open an UTF-8 .csv file without mangling every special caracter inside.

    Even vim is able to detect the encoding of a file ! Why excel can't ?

  • Rossy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    + one more vote - it will be really very handy for csv that has Cyrillic inside for instance.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I would also love to have a "CSV Mode" that treats all columns as Text. Everyday I get files with UPCs and tracking numbers stripped from conversion into scientific notation, leading zeroes lopped off zip codes.

    For those looking for an easy way to do this, I do my work in Excel, paste the whole thing into Google Sheets, then use their File > Download as > CSV which just works

  • Jan Karel Pieterse commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Should this idea get implemented, then please add a simple way to preset the decimal separator and delimited for the export.a text export wizard would be great!

  • Tor Jensen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    working for a multinational company this is a big headache when sharing spreadsheets or data with our russian and chinese partners. I spent a couple of hours today trying to make it work, resorting to suggesting my coworkers that we a) download libreoffice or b) make a macro to automatically add "comma separators" in front of every cell, and save it as a unicode text file.

    With the scope Excel is being used at I was pretty surprised it couldn't do something this straightforward.

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