utf-8 save - Excel to CSV with UTF8 encoding

as default (25)

I have an Excel file that has some Spanish characters (tildes, etc.) that I need to convert to a CSV file to use as an import file. However, when I do Save As CSV it mangles the "special" Spanish characters that aren't ASCII characters. It also seems to do this with the left and right quotes and long dashes that appear to be coming from the original user creating the Excel file in Mac.

Since CSV is just a text file I'm sure it can handle a UTF8 encoding, so I'm guessing it is an Excel limitation, but I'm looking for a way to get from Excel to CSV and keep the non-ASCII characters intact.


Save Dialog > Tools Button > Web Options > Encoding Tab

Encoding -> Convert to Ansi will encode it in ANSI/UNICODE. Utf8 is a subset of Unicode. Perhaps in ANSI will be encoded correctly, but here we are talking about UTF8, @SequenceDigitale.

There are faster ways, like exporting as csv ( comma delimited ) and then, opening that csv with Notepad++ ( free ), then Encoding > Convert to UTF8. But only if you have to do this once per file. If you need to change and export fequently, then the best is LibreOffice or GDocs solution.

You can do this on a modern Windows machine without third party software. This method is reliable and it will handle data that includes quoted commas, quoted tab characters, CJK characters, etc.

1. Save from Excel

In Excel, save the data to file.txt using the type Unicode Text (*.txt).

2. Start PowerShell

Run powershell from the Start menu.

3. Load the file in PowerShell

$data = Import-Csv C:\path\to\file.txt -Delimiter "`t" -Encoding BigEndianUnicode

4. Save the data as CSV

$data | Export-Csv file.csv -Encoding UTF8 -NoTypeInformation

As funny as it may seem, the easiest way I found to save my 180MB spreadsheet into a UTF8 CSV file was to select the cells into Excel, copy them and to paste the content of the clipboard into SublimeText.

"nevets1219" is right about Google docs, however if you simply "import" the file it often does not convert it to UTF-8.

But if you import the CSV into an existing Google spreadsheet it does convert to UTF-8.

Here's a recipe:

  • On the main Docs (or Drive) screen click the "Create" button and choose "Spreadsheet"
  • From the "File" menu choose "Import"
  • Click "Choose File"
  • Choose "Replace spreadsheet"
  • Choose whichever character you are using as a Separator
  • Click "Import"
  • From the "File" menu choose "Download as" -> CSV (current sheet)

The resulting file will be in UTF-8

The only "easy way" of doing this is as follows. First, realize that there is a difference between what is displayed and what is kept hidden in the Excel .csv file.

(1) Open an Excel file where you have the info (.xls, .xlsx)

(2) In Excel, choose "CSV (Comma Delimited) (*.csv) as the file type and save as that type.

(3) In NOTEPAD (found under "Programs" and then Accessories in Start menu), open the saved .csv file in Notepad

(4) Then choose -> Save As..and at the bottom of the "save as" box, there is a select box labelled as "Encoding". Select UTF-8 (do NOT use ANSI or you lose all accents etc). After selecting UTF-8, then save the file to a slightly different file name from the original.

This file is in UTF-8 and retains all characters and accents and can be imported, for example, into MySQL and other database programs.

This answer is taken from this forum.

What about using Powershell.

Get-Content 'C:\my.csv' | Out-File 'C:\my_utf8.csv' -Encoding UTF8

  1. Save xls file (Excel file) as Unicode text=>file will be saved in text format (.txt)

  2. Change format from .txt to .csv (rename the file from XYX.txt to XYX.csv

A simple workaround is to use Google Spreadsheet. Paste (values only if you have complex formulas) or import the sheet then download CSV. I just tried a few characters and it works rather well.

NOTE: Google Sheets does have limitations when importing. See here.

NOTE: Be careful of sensitive data with Google Sheets.

EDIT: Another alternative - basically they use VB macro or addins to force the save as UTF8. I have not tried any of these solutions but they sound reasonable.

another solution is to open the file by winword and save it as txt and then reopen it by excel and it will work ISA

You can use iconv command under Unix (also available on Windows as libiconv).

After saving as CSV under Excel in the command line put:

iconv -f cp1250 -t utf-8 file-encoded-cp1250.csv > file-encoded-utf8.csv

(remember to replace cp1250 with your encoding).

Works fast and great for big files like post codes database, which cannot be imported to GoogleDocs (400.000 cells limit).

open .csv fine with notepad++. if you see your encoding is good (you see all characters as they should be) press encoding , then convert to ANSI else - find out what is your current encoding

A second option to "nevets1219" is to open your CSV file in Notepad++ and do a convertion to ANSI.

Choose in the top menu : Encoding -> Convert to Ansi

I have also came across the same problem but there is an easy solution for this.

  1. Open your xlsx file in Excel 2016 or higher.
  2. In "Save As" choose this option: "(CSV UTF-8(Comma Delimited)*.csv)"

It works perfectly and a csv file is generated which can be imported in any software. I imported this csv file in my SQLITE database and it works perfectly with all unicode characters intact.

I know this is an old question but I happened to come upon this question while struggling with the same issues as the OP.

Not having found any of the offered solutions a viable option, I set out to discover if there is a way to do this just using Excel.

Fortunately, I have found that the lost character issue only happens (in my case) when saving from xlsx format to csv format. I tried saving the xlsx file to xls first, then to csv. It actually worked.

Please give it a try and see if it works for you. Good luck.

I have written a small Python script that can export worksheets in UTF-8.

You just have to provide the Excel file as first parameter followed by the sheets that you would like to export. If you do not provide the sheets, the script will export all worksheets that are present in the Excel file.

#!/usr/bin/env python

# export data sheets from xlsx to csv

from openpyxl import load_workbook
import csv
from os import sys


def get_all_sheets(excel_file):
    sheets = []
    workbook = load_workbook(excel_file,use_iterators=True,data_only=True)
    all_worksheets = workbook.get_sheet_names()
    for worksheet_name in all_worksheets:
    return sheets

def csv_from_excel(excel_file, sheets):
    workbook = load_workbook(excel_file,use_iterators=True,data_only=True)
    for worksheet_name in sheets:
        print("Export " + worksheet_name + " ...")

            worksheet = workbook.get_sheet_by_name(worksheet_name)
        except KeyError:
            print("Could not find " + worksheet_name)

        your_csv_file = open(''.join([worksheet_name,'.csv']), 'wb')
        wr = csv.writer(your_csv_file, quoting=csv.QUOTE_ALL)
        for row in worksheet.iter_rows():
            lrow = []
            for cell in row:
        print(" ... done")

if not 2 <= len(sys.argv) <= 3:
    print("Call with " + sys.argv[0] + " <xlxs file> [comma separated list of sheets to export]")
    sheets = []
    if len(sys.argv) == 3:
        sheets = list(sys.argv[2].split(','))
        sheets = get_all_sheets(sys.argv[1])
    assert(sheets != None and len(sheets) > 0)
    csv_from_excel(sys.argv[1], sheets)

Easy way to do it: download open office (here), load the spreadsheet and open the excel file (.xls or .xlsx). Then just save it as a text CSV file and a window opens asking to keep the current format or to save as a .ODF format. select "keep the current format" and in the new window select the option that works better for you, according with the language that your file is been written on. For Spanish language select Western Europe (Windows-1252/ WinLatin 1) and the file works just fine. If you select Unicode (UTF-8), it is not going to work with the spanish characters.

Under Excel 2016, we have a CSV export option dedicated to UTF-8 format.

Assuming an Windows environment, save and work with the file as usual in Excel but then open up the saved Excel file in Gnome Gnumeric (free). Save Gnome Gnumeric's spreadsheet as CSV which - for me anyway - saves it as UTF-8 CSV.

Microsoft Excel has an option to export spreadsheet using Unicode encoding. See following screenshot.

Using Notepad++

This will fix the corrupted CSV file saved by Excel and re-save it in the proper encoding.

  • Export CSV from Excel
  • Load into Notepad++
  • Fix encoding
  • Save

Excel saves in CP-1252 / Windows-1252. Open the CSV file in Notepad++. Select

Encoding > Character Sets > Western European > Windows-1252


Encoding > Convert to UTF-8
File > Save

First tell Notepad++ the encoding, then convert. Some of these other answers are converting without setting the proper encoding first, mangling the file even more. They would turn what should be into . If your character does not fit into CP-1252 then it was already lost when it was saved as CSV. Use another answer for that.

Another one I've found useful: "Numbers" allows encoding-settings when saving as CSV.

  1. Save the Excel sheet as "Unicode Text (.txt)". The good news is that all the international characters are in UTF16 (note, not in UTF8). However, the new "*.txt" file is TAB delimited, not comma delimited, and therefore is not a true CSV.

  2. (optional) Unless you can use a TAB delimited file for import, use your favorite text editor and replace the TAB characters with commas ",".

  3. Import your *.txt file in the target application. Make sure it can accept UTF16 format.

If UTF-16 has been properly implemented with support for non-BMP code points, that you can convert a UTF-16 file to UTF-8 without losing information. I leave it to you to find your favourite method of doing so.

I use this procedure to import data from Excel to Moodle.

For my scenario using StreamWriter I found explicitly passing UTF8 encoding to the StreamWriter enabled excel to read the file using the correct encoding.

See this answer for more details: https://.com/a/22306937/999048

excel encoding csv utf-8