CSV with comma or semicolon?

CSV with comma or semicolon?

In Windows it is dependent on the Regional and Language Options customize screen where you find a List separator. This is the char Windows applications expect to be the CSV separator.

Of course this only has effect in Windows applications, for example Excel will not automatically split data into columns if the file is not using the above mentioned separator. All applications that use Windows regional settings will have this behavior.

If you are writing a program for Windows that will require importing the CSV in other applications and you know that the list separator set for your target machines is ,, then go for it, otherwise I prefer ; since it causes less problems with decimal points, digit grouping and does not appear in much text.

CSV is a standard format, outlined in RFC 4180 (in 2005), so there IS no lack of a standard. https://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4180.txt

And even before that, the C in CSV has always stood for Comma, not for semiColon 🙁

Its a pity Microsoft keeps ignoring that and is still sticking to the monstrosity they turned it into decades ago (yes, I admit, that was before the RFC was created).

  • One record per line, unless a newline occurs within quoted text (see below).
  • COMMA as column separator. Never a semicolon.
  • PERIOD as decimal point in numbers. Never a comma.
  • Text containing commas, periods and/or newlines enclosed in double quotation marks.
  • Only if text is enclosed in double quotation marks, such quotations marks in the text escaped by doubling. These examples represent the same three fields:

    1,this text contains quotation marks,3

    1,this text contains quotation marks,3

The standard does not cover date and time values, personally I try to stick to ISO 8601 format to avoid day/month/year — month/day/year confusion.

CSV with comma or semicolon?

Id say stick to comma as its widely recognized and understood. Be sure to quote your values and escape your quotes though.

ID,NAME,AGE
23434,Norris, Chuck,24
34343,Bond, James master,57

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