How to Save CSV in UTF-8

Updated July 20, 2017

UTF-8 is an encoding set that can contain any unicode character, yet it is as compact as ASCII. For this reason, UTF-8 is appropriate for writing code for cross-platform software. Many people use UTF-8 encoding to send and receive e-mail in various languages. Unfortunately, not all applications can encode files in UTF-8 by default, and Microsoft Excel is one of them. Instead of unicode, Excel encodes CSV files using ANSI. To get around this, you need to change Excel's default character set. If you don't have Excel installed, you may use Notepad to create a UTF-8 version of your file.

Click "Start," enter "notepad" in the Search field, and press "Enter" to launch Notepad.

Click "File" and then click "Open." Click the drop-down menu beside the "File Name" field, and then choose "All Files."

Locate the CSV file that you want to convert to UTF-8. Select it and click "Open." This loads your CSV data onto Notepad.

Open the "File" menu again, and click on "Save As." Enter your preferred file name. Be sure to include the ".csv" file extension.

Click the drop-down menu beside "Save as File Type," and choose "All Files."

Go to "Encoding" and select "UTF-8" from the drop-down menu. Click "Save."

Launch Microsoft Excel. Click the Microsoft Office button, and then choose "Open." Select your CSV file from the list, and click "Open."

Click the Microsoft Office button, and then click "Save As." Enter your preferred file name.

Click the drop-down menu beside "Save as File Type," and then choose "CSV (Comma delimited)."

Click the "Tools" button at the bottom of the window, and then choose "Web Options."

Go to the "Encoding" tab. Under "Save this document as," click the drop-down menu and choose "Unicode (UTF-8)." Click "OK" and then click "Save."


Notepad may not be able to open very large files. In that case, use a more powerful text editor such as Notepad++.

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About the Author

Brian Valle is a technical writer based in South Carolina. Freelancing since 2008, he has written for various blogs and small-business websites, sharing his knowledge about Windows, new applications, life-hacks and computer games. Valle is studying information technology at York Tech College.