I'm using Excel on Mac and it's always painful to have to reopen all exported CSVs in another text editor just to change the line endings from "CR" to "LF" and the delimiter from ";" to ","

Is there a way to set the preferred CSV save format permanently?


I found that solution for Windows version of Excel:

  • Click the Windows Start menu.
  • Click Control Panel.
  • Open the Regional and Language Options dialog box.
  • Click the Regional Options Tab.
  • Click Customize.
  • Type a new separator in the List separator box.
  • Click OK twice.

I didn't find anything for Excel for Mac.

  • 2
    Not particularly helpful if it's not for the Mac version. – slhck Jul 18 '12 at 14:51

I discovered a couple of valuable bits of info on this. Firstly, NeoOffice gives you full control over the delimiter character on csv export. You can open any excel file in NeoOffice, which is a FREE office suite. Secondly, I found that Excel for Mac does some bad things to csv files sometimes. Today I spent 4 hours trying to find out why a csv import was failing. I traced it down to Excel, it does something that I cannot see in the files, I cannot see any difference in two files when opened in a plain text editor (TextWrangler) yet the one coming from Excel fails on import and the one coming from NeoOffice works.


I'm not sure how to change the line endings, but the delimiter is a semicolon due to regional settings.

But I hesitate to recommend changing your regional settings.

A better recommendation would be to not use Excel. Excel is a spreadsheet program, not a database.

  • There are many legitimate reasons for exporting CSV from Excel that are nothing to do with databases. Other than that I think you are spot on. – Lunatik Dec 21 '11 at 16:37

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