Google Docs CSV File Export

How to export a spreadsheet to CSV in Google Docs Spreadsheet

Written by Kirill Vasilyev on July 27, 2010 at 9:00 AM

In this article, I will teach you how to export any Google Docs Spreadsheet into a CSV file. CSV format is pretty standardized and can be used with almost any software that has file import feature. You can use CSV to transfer database information between several software products or use it to backup information you have in your software products.

CSV is always a plain text file, normally in unicode UTF-8 or UTF-16 text encoding. Every line of the file represents one record (a single customer record) that contains information about your customer in the form of data fields (such as name, email address, phone number, etc.) separated by a comma(normally), semicolon or TAB.

If your spreadsheet contains customers with Order, Name, Email, Product and Website columns, your CSV file would look as pictured below:


Note that the second example contains quotes around the data fields. The quote character is called Qualifier. Some spreadsheet processors add it for better clarity in case if commas are used in the fields. Normally, either quotes or apostrophes are used as qualifiers. Comma here is called Field Separation Character or delimiter. It can be comma, semicolon or TAB. By default Google Docs Spreadsheet uses comma as delimiter and does not use any qualifiers.

How to create a CSV file in Google Docs Spreadsheet

1. Start Google Docs Spreadsheet.
2. Open your spreadsheet file.
3. Use the File->Download As->CSV (current sheet) command from the menu bar to open the Save dialog box.

4. Your web browser will show you a dialog box allowing you to choose whether you want to open the file or just save it. You need to select Save.

5. Press Ok, specify file location and in a few seconds a new CSV file will be created at the location you have specified.

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