How to Save an Excel Spreadsheet As Pipe Delimited

By Paul Higgins

Learn how to save an Excel spreadsheet as a pipe-delimited CSV file by editing your Windows settings.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Excel

As the name implies, Excel uses commas as the default value delimiter when saving a spreadsheet in the comma-separated values -- or CSV -- format. Set pipes as Excel's default value delimiter by editing your regional settings in Windows.


Unlike the default XLSX format which can save an entire workbook, saving a spreadsheet in the CSV format lets you save only the active sheet.

Edit Your Regional Settings

Step 1

Open the Windows Start Screen or Start Menu and type change date in the search box. Select Change Date, Time, or Number Formats from the search results list.

Step 2

Click Additional Settings.

Click the Additional Settings button to open the Customize Format window.

Step 3

Enter a pipe symbol in the List Separator field.

Enter a pipe symbol in the List Separator field and save your new settings by clicking Apply and OK.


  • On a keyboard using a standard U.S. layout, type a pipe symbol by pressing Shift-Backslash.

  • The list separator settings is a system-wide setting. Editing it may therefore affect how other programs on your computer save delimiter-separated data.

Save the Spreadsheet

Step 1

Select File.

Load the spreadsheet and select File from the Excel Ribbon.

Step 2

Select Save As.

Select Save As from the sidebar.

Step 3

Open the Save As Type menu and select CSV (Comma Delimited).

Open the Save As Type menu and select CSV (Comma Delimited). Name your file and click the Save button.


To save a pipe-delimited file in the TXT format, save it first as a CSV file and then use Windows Explorer to change the file's extension to TXT.