How to Open a CSV File in Google Docs

862891 How to Open a CSV File in Google Docs

Comma Separated Values (CSV) files are a common file format used to store tabular data such as spreadsheets or databases. CSV files can be opened in many programs, but Google Docs provides an easy way to open, edit, and convert CSV files using just your web browser.

What is a CSV File?

A CSV file stores tabular data (numbers and text) in plain text format. Each row in the table is on its own line, with columns separated by commas. For example:

John,35,New York

The main benefits of CSV files are:

  • Plain text: CSV can be opened on any device with any software that supports text files.
  • Structured format: The consistent structure allows data to be imported/exported from many programs.
  • Small file size: No heavy formatting results in small files ideal for transferring data.
  • Simplicity: CSV strikes a balance between simplicity and structure to be usable by almost all software.

CSVs can store relational data like spreadsheets or databases which makes the format versatile for many applications.

Opening CSV Files in Google Docs

Google Docs supports opening, editing, converting and exporting CSV files – all within your browser without installing any additional software. Here are the main ways to work with CSVs in Google Docs:

1. Upload the CSV File

  • Go to Google Docs and login to your Google account.
  • Click the + New button and select File upload.
  • Find and select your CSV file on your computer.
  • Click Open to upload the file to Google Drive.

Once uploaded, the CSV will open directly in Google Docs, automatically converting to a Docs table.

2. Convert to Google Docs Format

After opening, you may want to convert the plain CSV data into a more formatted Google Doc:

  • With the CSV open in Docs, click File > Save as Google Docs.
  • A dialog will prompt you to confirm converting to the Docs format. Click Continue.
  • The CSV data is now an editable Google Doc file retaining all your original CSV data.

Converting to Docs allows applying fonts, text formatting, colors, page layouts plus collaboration features like comments and access controls.

3. Import CSV Data into an Existing Document

To import CSV data into an existing Google Doc:

  • Open the target Google Doc you want to import data into.
  • Click Tools > Import CSV.
  • Select the CSV file from Google Drive to import.
  • Configure the import settings:
  • Separator character – Comma, tab or other.
  • Convert text to table – Check to format as a table automatically.
  • Click Import.

The CSV will be inserted directly into the document as a new sheet or table.

Editing CSV Data in Google Docs

With the CSV file opened in Google Docs, you can now easily edit cells just like working in an online spreadsheet:

  • Add/delete rows – Right click on a row number and insert or delete rows.
  • Add/delete columns – Right click on a column letter and insert or delete columns.
  • Edit cell data – Double click within any cell to edit the text or value directly.
  • Add formatting – Select cells and use the Docs formatting toolbar to apply formatting like fonts, colors or alignment.
  • Sort data – Select the data range then go to Data > Sort sheet to rearrange rows.
  • Use formulas – Insert formulas like =SUM() using the formula toolbar.

All changes made to the CSV data are saved automatically within Google Docs.

Converting CSV Files to Other Formats

While editing in Google Docs you may eventually need to convert the updated CSV data to another format:

  • Microsoft Excel – Go to **File > Download > Microsoft Excel (.xlsx) ** to convert to Excel format.
  • PDF document – Use File > Download > PDF Document to convert to a sharable PDF file.
  • Plain CSV – To convert back to plain CSV text, use File > Download > Comma-separated values (.csv).
  • Other formats like HTML, ODT, RTF and more are available under the Download menu.

Converting out of Google Docs allows exporting your finished CSV data to use in other programs.

Sharing CSV Files from Google Drive

A final benefit of using Google Docs is leveraging Google Drive for storage, sharing and collaboration:

  • Store in Google Drive – CSV files opened in Docs are saved to your Google Drive account automatically. No need to email attachments.
  • Share files – Right click your CSV file in Drive and select Share to invite other users to view or edit the file.
  • See revision history – Drive tracks changes made to files over time. Click File > See revision history to see a time record of all changes.
  • Add comments – Collaborators can add comments on specific rows in a CSV file to discuss data or changes.

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