Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am looking for a way to display an open, "live" CSV file under Windows 7. For example, I have a proprietary program running that is generating log data in CSV format. I'd like to keep an eye on what it's recording, while it's running (read-only - no need/desire to edit or change the file).

Ideally, I want to:

  1. display the data in tabular format in a window (like in Excel - but I don't want to use Excel -- this is not the same as this question)
  2. recognize the first line with the column titles to be used as a static title line.
  3. vertically scroll around the file, if needed.
  4. auto-update, i.e., detect new lines and show the new line(s) at the bottom of the window.
  5. auto-scroll to show a new line if I'm positioned at the bottom
  6. handle a wide tables (horizontal scrolling).
  7. select which columns to show (nice, but not required)

To solve this problem, I've looked at a number of CSV file editor & viewing programs, including Ron's Editor, CSVed, and nirsoft's CSV File Viewer.

The first two are too heavy and have functionality and clutter I'm not interested in (e.g., editing) - and they are missing the auto-update feature. Nirsoft's tool is nearly perfect. But it has only "auto-refresh" which reads the whole file over again & repositions to the top - when I want to stay where I was or have it auto-scroll if I'm at the bottom.

I also took a look at baretail, but it seems to not be designed to handle CSV files.

Regarding file size - it's nice if the solution can handle huge files, but I'll also be happy if it can handle just a few megabytes.

Any suggestions for a way to do what I need?

share|improve this question
Dear SU friends. I am not sure why this is off-topic - it seems rather similar to other questions (though with a specific need). In any case, can you recommend a place to re-ask or migrate it to, please? Thanks. – yosh m Mar 7 '13 at 10:19
It's off topic because it's looking solely to recommend software and not for a solution to a problem. All sites within Stack Exchange are the same way, in that they discourage questions that simply ask for "recommend product that does X". Feel free to use this meta post for help in re-phrasing the question. – KronoS Mar 7 '13 at 13:33
Hi @yosh-m, I can appreciate that it can be confusing as to why something has been closed. Unfortunately, the close voting process doesn't really encourage voters to give a clear reason. In this case, your question has been closed because it meets the off-topic requirements defined in the FAQ. Namely not "asking for a shopping or product recommendation". These have been set by the originators of the group so we have little influence there. I suggest trying to ask this in Stack Overflow. – Julian Knight Mar 7 '13 at 13:33
Thanks, KronoS and JulianKnight, I've followed your advice and re-phrased the question - I hope it will be re-opened. If not, I guess I'll try StackOverflow as you suggested. Thanks. – yosh m Mar 7 '13 at 17:20
Question: Having re-phrased my question to, I hope, meet the requirements - should I wait/beg for it to be re-opened or is the correct procedure to re-post in its re-phrased form? – yosh m Mar 10 '13 at 14:07
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Today I checked in on the tool by Nirsoft, CSV File Viewer. The newest version of the tool, 1.75, has added most of the feature I was seeking:

Version 1.75:

  • Added 'Partial Refresh' option (Ctrl+F5), which makes a smooth refresh, without reloading the entire table. However, Partial Refresh will not work properly if you add/remove columns or change their position.
  • Added 'Auto Refresh Mode' which allows you to choose how to refresh when the 'Auto Refresh' option is turned on - Partial Refresh or Full refresh.

I tried the new version & it does work as advertised. I wish it automatically kept the end of file in view, but it does not - pressing the End key brings it quickly back into view. Maybe I'll write an AutoHotKey macro to automatically press End every few seconds for me to get the rest of the functionality I want.

I also tried removing viewed columns while it was auto-partial-refreshing - despite the warning noted above, it continued to work fine.

EDIT: 2013-05-21 Checked back again today and I see Nirsoft has added the "auto-scroll to end on update" function that I was looking for - it was added in version 1.76 - current version of 1.80.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.