How to Create a Comma Delimited Text File

By Nina Nixon

Comma delimited text files are like mini-data bases. They are packed with information ready to be imported and sorted as needed to analyze and hypothesize. The beauty of a file is in its flexibility to be pulled into database and spreadsheet applications. For instance, a form or list originally created by a word processing software may have many commas or symbolic characters. These pieces of information take up spaces reserved for meaningful text, but in reality they are just fakers who try to add a little something "not so quite special" to your real data. You can banish them now by following a few simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel

Step 1

Create a list separated by commas in Microsoft Word. (Note: If you already have a file that contains commas handy, open it.)

Step 2

Select "File" then "Save As." If prompted, type in a name for your document and as the "Save As Type" select "Plain Text." (You may not be prompted to type in a name for your document if you have already saved it previously.)

Step 3

Select the Text Encoding default by checking "Windows." Select "Insert Line Breaks," and CR and LF for "End With Lines." Name and save your document, if prompted. Close out of the document and the software.

Step 4

Open Excel and in a blank spreadsheet select "Data," from the pull-down menu. Next, select "Import External Data," "Import Data."

Step 5

Locate the saved file. At the Import Wizard dialog box, check the "Delimited" option and if desired, input the first row to import. Click "Next."

Step 6

Check boxes "Comma" and "Treat Consecutive Delimiters as One," then click "Next."

Step 7

Select "General" under the Comma Data Format section. Click "Finish."

Step 8

Click on "Cell A1" to place the new data at the beginning of the spreadsheet and then press "OK." (You can place the curser in any cell where there are no conflicting space issues.)

Step 9

Verify the data by spot checking visually to ensure that no commas are present.

Tips & Warnings

  • Think of these types of files as word processing documents that have been sifted and refined to provide you with only the straightforward information you need.

References & Resources