Exporting Data in Excel

We shall discuss in this section about exporting data in Excel. You can convert your Excel workbook in different formats like CSV, txt, PRN, and many more.

Converting Excel workbook to text format

When you choose File ➪ Save as and then select someplace where your file will be placed, the Save As dialog box will appear and you can choose your desired format from a variety of text file formats. The three types are:

  • CSV:Comma separated value files.
  • TXT:Tab delimited files.
  • PRN:Formatted text, printer text file.

The above three text files are discussed below:

CSV files
When you export a worksheet to a CSV file format, the data is saved as displayed. Say you are working with a worksheet in Excel. One of your cells (say it is A5) contains this value: 12.8312344. But you have formatted cell A5 in a way that it shows number with two decimal points. So A5 will show 12.83. Now you want to convert this excel file into CSV format, then A5 will be saved as 12.83 and so on.

Cells are delimited with a comma character, and rows are delimited with a carriage return and line feed.

The following figure explains to you how to save excel workbook as CSV format.

Exporting Data in Excel

Save as dialog box. This figure describes how to convert .xlsx file into .csv format.

This figure shows you the data transformation when it is converted into .csv format.

Exporting Data in Excel

Data converted into CSV format

Download section

Download this file and convert it to CSV format.
Download this file. Output of the above file when converted into .csv format.

Note: If a cell contains a comma, the cell value is saved within quotation marks. If a cell contains a quotation mark character, that character will appear twice.

TXT files
Exporting a workbook to a TXT file is almost identical to the CSV file format what we described above. The only difference is that cells are separated by a tab character rather than a comma. If your worksheet contains Unicode characters, you must export the file using the Unicode Text. Otherwise, Unicode characters will be saved as question mark characters.

PRN files, printer text file
A PRN file is like a printed image of the worksheet. The cells are separated by multiple space characters. A line can have at best 240 characters. PRN files are not usually used.

Read More: Importing Data in Excel

Exporting Excel workbook to other file formats

Excel also lets you save your work in several other formats:

  • DIF (Data Interchange Format): These files have DIF extension. Used rarely.
  • SYLK (Symbolic Link): These files have SYLK extension. Not used very often.
  • PDF (Portable Document Format): These files have a PDF extension. This is very common “read-only” file format.
  • XPS (XML Paper Specification Document): These files have XPS extension. This one is Microsoft’s alternative to PDF files. Used rarely.
  • Web Page: These files have an HTM/HTML extension.
  • ODS (OpenDocument Spreadsheet): These files have ODS extension. These files are compatible with various open source spreadsheet programs.

Happy Excelling 🙂


Hello! Welcome to my Excel blog! It took me some time to be a fan of Excel. But now I am a die-hard fan of MS Excel. I learn new ways of doing things with Excel and share here. Not only how to guide on Excel, but you will get also topics on Finance, Statistics, Data Analysis, and BI. Stay tuned!

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