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Working with CSV Files
Working with CSV Files

Understanding how CSV files work for imports and exports

Luciano Coelho avatar
Written by Luciano Coelho
Updated over a week ago

CSV stands for comma-separated values, a file format (.csv) for spreadsheets. You can use CSV files to import items and modifiers and export data from the Reports section.

They can be useful in many situations, such as when you are switching to ChatFood from another e-commerce platform or want to upload items by using a spreadsheet.

CSV files might seem intimidating at first, but after you understand their format and how they work, you might decide to use them for a variety of tasks.

Your CSV files must use UTF-8 encoding.

⚠️  If you are updating a CSV file export, then remember to confirm the UTF-8 encoding to avoid generating unwanted special characters in your file. If you save your file after forgetting to confirm its UTF-8 encoding, then your data will be corrupted when you upload it as a new spreadsheet. ChatFood can't recover corrupted files for you.

Exporting Reports

When creating a new report for download, the CSV file generated has the semicolon ";" as the default separator. If your system or locale configuration has another default, your spreadsheet program may not behave properly when opening the file.

To help minimizing any local configuration issues, ChatFood system sends a parameter to help Excel understand the separator. However, not all programs will read this parameter. Below are some tips for the commonly used spreadsheets programs and what you can expect.

  • Excel: because ChatFood reports are generated with the parameter sep=; in the first line, Excel should understand that this is the default separator to be considered and expand the file automatically. If not happening, you may check your locale and language configuration or expand the file manually.

  • Numbers (Mac users): Numbers program handles exported reports natively. In that case, the sent parameter sep=; will show as the first line. Simply delete the first line (first row) and your file is ready for use, with the proper headers in the first line (first row).

  • Google Sheets: similar to Numbers, Google Sheets does not read the sep=; parameter, so after importing the CSV file into your Google spreadsheet, be sure to check for the first line and delete it when finding the parameter there.

  • Other spreadsheet programs: most of them shall behave as Google Sheets, but we recommend you learn how your program handle CSV opening and act accordingly.

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