I had a followup question to this related post -

Formatting a CSV to force Excel to interpret value as a string (not date or number)

I was wondering how does one escape text starting with " using "=""Data Here""" in a TAB delimited file..


 column1        column2        column3
 1              "SampleText    123465

I tried




but neither worked!

  • 1
    Have you tried \"?
    – Shelby115
    Feb 5, 2015 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


It's ugly, but here's what we did. For other reasons, we basically export an text file containing a html table, and give it a .xls filename. We have data that needs to show (and export) as a fraction. To keep Excel from re-interpreting it as a decimal - or even worse, a date - we follow each fraction with a space and an html non-breaking space.

<td>7/12 &nbsp;</td>

This gets brought into Excel as a text string and shown as "7/12" as our customer wants.

I don't know if you could do something similar with a tab-delimited file, but I hope it's worth something to you.

  • Thanks @StevenV. But my problem is that a single " in the beginning of the text makes Excel interpret the rest of the data as one single cell. I can avoid this by using data import in Excel and asking the user to set the "Text qualifier" as none, but that would seem tedious to end user.
    – aix
    Aug 8, 2011 at 14:34

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