How to make a pipe delimited file in excel

Written by john w. smith
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A delimited file contains rows and columns of text separated by different characters, such as a comma (,) or a pipe (|). These files can be imported into most databases to transfer information. By default, Microsoft Excel creates a "Comma-Separated Value" (CSV) file. You have to change the default line separator value in Windows to create a pipe delimited file.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Click the Windows "Start" button in the computer's taskbar, and then click "Control Panel" in the resulting menu. This opens a window.

  2. 2

    Click "Region and Language" in the window that appears. The Region and Language window opens.

  3. 3

    Click the "Additional Settings" button in the Region and Language window. The Customize Format window appears.

  4. 4

    Highlight the comma in the "List separator" field. Press the "Shift" key and the backslash key simultaneously on your keyboard. This will create a pipe (|).

  5. 5

    Press the "Apply" button, then "OK" to close the Customize Format window. Press "OK" to close the Region and Language window.

  6. 6

    Double-click the Excel spreadsheet file you want to change to pipe delimited. This will open the file in Excel.

  7. 7

    Click the "File" tab and then click "Save As" if you're using Word 2010. Click the "Office" button and then click "Save As" if you're using Word 2007. Click "File" and then "Save As" in the resulting window if you're using Word 2003. This opens the Save As window.

  8. 8

    Type a name for your file in the "File name" field, and then select "CSV (comma delimited)" in the "Save as type" drop-down menu. Click the "Save" button when done. Since you set the machine's default to a pipe, it will save the delimited file with pipes instead of commas.

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