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Save a semi-colon delimited file in Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is a great program, especially when you are created delimited files to import into MySQL databases. However, when you have commas within data columns, using commas as the delimiter will ruin your day. A better approach is to use semi-colons as the delimiter…But Excel does not give you this option. So, the easiest approach is to make this change in the Windows settings.

To do so:

1. Go to START>SETTINGS>REGIONAL AND LANGUAGE OPTIONS
2. Click on the CUSTOMIZE button
3. Next to LIST SEPARATOR, type in a semi-colon (;)

This will set the default delimiter value to a semi-colon.  So, when you save a file in Excel as .csv, you will have semi-colons to separate the row data.

Note: I used Windows XP for the above settings.   A different flavor of Windows might have different options.

Office 2007

February 2nd, 2010
  1. Amit
    April 8th, 2011 at 17:02 | #1

    Thank you so much! It was clear, simple and to-the-point :)

  2. JA
    August 12th, 2011 at 14:06 | #2

    Does not work in Windows 7 with Excel 2010.

  3. GP
    January 24th, 2012 at 18:11 | #3

    In Windows 7, go to Control Panel -> Clock, Language, and Region -> Region and Language -> click “Additional settings…”, and change the value next to “List separator:”

  4. Tony
    August 3rd, 2012 at 17:57 | #4

    Doesn’t Excel provide this ability to use whatever you want in Options/Advanced/Editing Options/ Use system separators… by changing the decimal separator?

  5. Deccard
    March 21st, 2013 at 13:52 | #5

    @Tony
    Don’t confuse decimal delimiters with separation delimiters!

    Tony is right only for what concerns decimal (and thousands) delimiters, but it doesn’t solve the field value separation.

    Conclusion: MS ought to extend their Save As options list to not only comma- and tab-, but also semicolon-separated field values.

    Defaulting to what’s set on Regional Settings is neither a good solution, since this overrules all office applications (and also the command separator char i Excel Formulas)

    Only a true extension to the Save As options list would solve it altogether.

    ;)
    Decc

  6. TNVSSKishore
    April 24th, 2013 at 09:55 | #6

    It helped me to save a lot of time. Thanks alot

  7. Sean
    May 8th, 2013 at 14:21 | #7

    This did not work for me in Windows 7 Enterprise with office 2010. Saving the file after changing the regional windows settings added semicolons at the end of the other separators instead of replacing the comma separators.

  1. October 15th, 2012 at 13:32 | #1
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  3. October 17th, 2012 at 06:21 | #3
  4. October 17th, 2012 at 11:37 | #4