I'm having trouble importing the CSV file, below, into Excel 2007. I can't figure out what the delimiter is.

"_id,""author_details"",""title"",""isbn"",""publisher"",""date_published"",""rating"",""bookshelf_id"",""bookshelf"",""read"",""series_details"",""pages"",""notes"",""list_price"",""anthology"",""location"",""read_start"",""read_end"",""format"",""signed"",""loaned_to"",""anthology_titles"",""description"",""genre"",""language"",""date_added"",""goodreads_book_id"",""last_goodreads_sync_date"",""last_update_date"",""book_uuid""," "1,""Varian, Hal R.|Medio, Alfredo"",""Microeconomia"",""9788875431730"",""Libreria Editrice Cafoscarina"",""2007-01-01"",""0"",""1,"",""Default,"",""0"","""",""756"","""","""",""0"","""","""","""",""Hardcover"",""0"","""","""",""Un testo affidabile per l'insegnamento della microeconomia sia a livello introduttivo che intermedio. Adottato come libro di testo in centinaia di università nel mondo. La sesta edizione (traduzione italiana della settima edizione americana) comprende un nuovo capitolo dedicato all'economia comportamentale, utile supplemento alla teoria classica del consumatore presentata nel resto del libro."",""Business & Economics / Economics / Microeconomics"",""Italian"",""2015-07-31 14:05:12"",""0"",""0000-00-00"",""2015-07-31 14:05:12"",""77814bda007623652cee9cb45d523fe8"","

It seems to me that the delimiter is "," but this is true for all fields except the one between the first and the second field. Is there something I'm missing?

By the way, the CSV was exported from Android app "Book Catalogue", an app to create your own library by scanning the bar codes on the back of your books.


3 Answers 3


Given the structure of the file and the fact that authors are listed Last, First - you need a way to specify which , is the delimiter.

I'd do a find and replace on all "" and " to (blank space, not nothing), then you can delimit on any , that is preceded by a blank space (which can't be shown in markdown apparently).

If I were you, I'd try to re-export it:

So I downloaded the app and sent myself a csv, I'm not having the same problem as you -

"_id","author_details","title","isbn","publisher","date_published","rating","bookshelf_id","bookshelf","read","series_details","pages","notes","list_price","anthology","location","read_start","read_end","format","signed","loaned_to","anthology_titles","description","genre","language","date_added","goodreads_book_id","last_goodreads_sync_date","last_update_date","book_uuid", "1","ISACA, ","Cisa Review Manual 2013","9781604203004","Ingram","2013-01-17","0","1,","Default,","0","","430","","","0","","","","Paperback","0","","","

The CISA Review Manual 2013 is a comprehensive reference guide to help individuals prepare for the CISA exam and understand the roles and responsibilities of an information systems (IS) auditor. The manual has been enhanced over the past editions and represents the most current, comprehensive, peer-reviewed IS audit, assurance, security and control resource available worldwide.

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","","English","2015-07-31 17:23:46","0","0000-00-00","2015-07-31 17:23:46","ece4a3abc4aca96480e462ec4e8ffc3a",

And excel has no problem with it -

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It seems more like each whole line is encased in double quotes1, thus:


Then the first column has no double quotes encasing it (just the ), but then the subsequent columns are doubly double quoted.

Finally, there is an extraneous comma at the end.

So, each line finally takes the form of (I have aded spaces to enhance clarity):

" <id>, ""<column2>"" , ""<column3>"" , ""<column4>"" , ""<column5>"" , "

Hence, I would say that the delimiter is a comma, but prior to processing the line, you need to strip the first and last double quotes of each line and then the double double quotes ("") around each column (apart from the first one).

It seems like the Android app is adding an "extra wrapping" (of two speech marks either side) around all of the columns bar the first one, and then encasing the entire line in double quotes.

So, this is a CSV, that is to say, a comma separated file, after all.

1 Double quotes a.k.a. Speech marks

  • 1
    not necessarily comma separated.. Also - it's not just a comma as then the authors' names would be split.. Jul 31, 2015 at 17:12
  • @Raystafarian - as in the second column, the author_details? Well spotted. I haven't actually seen that. So, I guess that is a part explanation as to why the developers did it this way, with the speech marks, so as to avoid confusion within fields where commas are legitimately used. Jul 31, 2015 at 17:17
  • Yeah, I think some of the problem is that the way this file is currently presented, doesn't make clear where line breaks are.. Jul 31, 2015 at 17:19

it looks like an ordinary csv file to me BUT

the first record is contains a single column with the value


which itself looks like valid CSV data, it appears that the creator has encoded each record twice.

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