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Help with Comma Separated Value (.csv) Files

The Department of Education provides Comma Separated Value (CSV) data files for download. This format allows for data to be easily loaded into a variety of applications. However, they are best viewed in applications that allow data to be manipulated in columns, most common of which are spreadsheets or databases (Excel, Access, etc.).

Viewing .csv files

  • Clicking on a .csv will allow you to view it. Typically Internet Explorer will load it into Excel automatically, while other browsers like Firefox, Chrome or Safari will allow you to view the text file in the browser itself.
  • Right-clicking on the .csv will allow you to download the file to your computer for use in any application that you choose.

Common Problem: CSV is too Large for Excel

Some of the .csv files will not load into Excel directly because they have too many rows of data. There are two ways to fix this:

Solution 1:

  • Save .csv to your hard drive.
  • Right-click the file and open in a text editor like Notepad or Word.
  • Highlight the rows of data that you are interested in and copy them.
  • Open Excel or another spreadsheet software package and paste the data into a blank worksheet.

Solution 2:

  • Save .csv to your hard drive.
  • Open up a database software package (i.e. Access)
  • Create a new table and import the .csv file.

Last Modified: 02/12/2015