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Comma-separated values

file format used for store data

In computing, a comma-separated values (CSV) file stores information you might find in a spreadsheet, such as a table of text, numbers, and dates, in a plain text file.


Typically, the first line in a plain text file would contain header information, which are labels for table information organized vertically. Starting with the second line, each line would represent a row. Each cell in a row is separated by a comma, hence its name.


Text in a cell may be surrounded by quotation character ("), to note the start and end of a cell in a table. Quotation characters in a cell value in turn can be denoted by doubling the quotation character ("").


CSV is a way to describe table data. However, various applications may require different types of tables. Having a file in CSV format may not be enough for a file to be compatible with a particular application.

Furthermore, CSV is stored in plain text. An application may have problems reading a CSV file because of incompatibility with the plain text format, either because of the character encoding or line break format.