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Is it possible to set the default encoding for Excel (any version, e.g. 2010) when opening files like csv files (like you can in Open Office Calc)?

I When I try to open a csv file encoded in Japanese SHIFT-JIS, it opens but with mojibake (corrupted characters). In Open Office Calc, if you click on a csv file with a non-standard encoding like SHIFT-JIS, it automatically opens a dialog where you can set the encoding.

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Which version of Excel? – paulmorriss May 9 '11 at 9:26
2003 or 2010 (I skipped 2007) – lozzer May 10 '11 at 17:49
up vote 32 down vote accepted

Use the import function under "Data" tab where Excel allows us to specify the encoding. Select "from text" and choose your csv file then Select Japanese shift-jis encoding.

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works perfectly for xl2007 and xl2010 – SooDesuNe Apr 27 '12 at 15:05
Sorry, I didn't check back until now. The "Data"->"From Text" approach works fine with xl2007 and xl2010. Not obvious but it works. – lozzer Apr 22 '13 at 17:22
Works also in Excel 2016 – Korayem Dec 2 '15 at 12:53
Note that excel calls the file encoding "File origin:" and is set to "Macintosh" on Excel for Mac. This can be a bit misleading if you don't know what to look for. It's on first step of the import wizard – Patrick Feb 22 at 16:44
On Excel 2016 for Mac: first open blank worksheet, next in main menu go to "Data" -> "Get External Data" -> "Import Text File". – DaddyM Jun 6 at 11:42

The following steps work with Office 2003.

  1. Rename .csv to .txt
  2. Open .txt file from Excel (don't do it with right click on file then open with Excel), Excel will open a Text Import Wizard dialog, ask ask for the format of .txt file, including character encoding of text file.
  3. Rename .txt back to .csv after your edit is finished.
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See if this helps (MS Excel 2007 and above).

  1. Open Excel and click the Microsoft Orb at the top and then click on Excel Options.

  2. Go to Advanced, and then look for the Web Options button. It should be under General.

  3. Go to the Encoding tab and pick Japanese Shift-JIS from the drop-down menu. Click Ok, restart Excel and try to open your file.

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This didn't work. My system is a Japanese system and so SHIFT-JIS is already set here as the default. But, I have my default editing language set for English (with Japanese also added). If I set the default editing language to Japanese, then the SHIFT-JIS csv file will open correctly. But this is messy. What if the file was some other encoding (e.g. Korean, Chinese)? What I really need is a place to set the encoding of the file (like I can in Open Office Calc). – lozzer May 10 '11 at 18:12
This should work for saving, but not for opening. I am wondering if it actually makes sense to choose an encoding when opening a file. Would this fix the issue ? – Veverke May 12 '15 at 14:05

Lozzer provided great feedback in the small print: "If I set the default editing language to Japanese, then the SHIFT-JIS csv file will open correctly...."

I have spent hours looking for a solution on how to open Japanese CSV with one simple click We have a multi-language environment (En-Jp).

Even though Excel showed Japanese menus (based on the control panels language settings), the default editing setting in File > Options > Language > Choose Editing Language (Top area) remained English. Changing that to Japanese (obviously no issue for Japanese users) solved our problem.

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On Excel 2016 for Mac:

  1. create blank worksheet,
  2. in main menu go to Data -> Get External Data -> Import Text File,
  3. follow steps in wizard - choose the encoding until you will see the correct preview and on the next step choose columns delimiter (delimiters differ from csv to csv files).
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