How to Convert a TXT File to a CSV File

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Converting a TXT file into a CSV file doesn't have to be a difficult process.
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For many working professionals, the ability to quickly convert between various document types and data formats is absolutely critical. Whether you are sharing files with a supervisor or collaborating on content with a remote team, understanding how to transform a TXT file into a CSV file will undoubtedly save you time and energy over the long term.



Converting a TXT file into a CSV file doesn't have to be a difficult process. You can use popular software packages such as Microsoft Excel to format your text file and then quickly convert it into the CSV file format.

The Basics of Text to CSV Conversion

In order to understand how this conversion process works, it is first important to explain briefly how these specific file types differ from one another. While the name "Text" seems rather self-explanatory, this specific file format designates any specific type of file that exclusively contains text characters and has no additional text formatting or other media content, such as images. When a text file is created, it is assigned the .TXT file suffix. Text files are universally compatible with both Windows and Apple operating systems, making them a near-ubiquitous element of modern computing.


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Understanding CSV Files

Unlike a text file, the CSV file format includes more specific formatting elements. CSV is an acronym that stands for "Comma Separated Values." While a CSV file is still essentially a plaintext file, it is distinguished from standard text files by the structured use of the comma. This unique facet of CSV files is designed to help facilitate the integration of this format into spreadsheet and database creation tools, such as the ever-popular Microsoft Excel software application. The comma separation incorporated into these files helps ensure that the same set of data can quickly be organized in a variety of CSV-compatible software applications as needed.


How to Convert TXT to CSV

If you are ready to begin the conversion process, your first step should be to launch your preferred CSV-compatible software application, such as the aforementioned Microsoft Excel. Once the software has fully loaded, your first step should be to import the text file so that it can be read and interpreted as data. In Excel, this process is as simple as clicking the Data tab and then the From Text option.


At this point, you should be prompted to select the specific text file you would like to use from your computer. After locating the appropriate file, confirm the selection. Once your file has been selected, a series of menu prompts will appear onscreen that allow you to specify how the data in your text file should be presented. This includes options for adjusting and creating break lines, as well as width ratios. Once you have customized your document as you see fit, you can press the "OK" button to finalize your selection.


At this point, your text file should be properly formatted into the various rows and cells needed to ensure full compatibility with the CSV format. Now, you can select the "Save As" function in your software and choose the CSV file format. Once this is complete, your text file will have been fully converted into the CSV format as planned.


Troubleshooting Text to CSV Issues

In the event that you are still unable to create a CSV file that accurately reflects how you would like your data to be organized, you may benefit from consulting with the support documentation included with your software. Microsoft and other popular office suite products contain extensive online support that should ensure that you are able to pinpoint problems and resolve them effectively.