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OpenText context menu screenshot
Microsoft Excel has an annoying habit of automatically converting data in CSV files. Often this is useful, but far too often you might have some data that should remain as text. A common problem is phone numbers that have leading zeroes. If you let Excel do it's default thing, it tends to convert these phone numbers to real numbers which means the leading zero is dropped. There are many other codes or other pieces of information that should remain as text when Excel imports them. Normally, you fix this by using the Text Import Wizard and specify which columns you want to keep as text.

This gets tedious very quickly, so I've created a little installer that adds a new right-click menu item for CSV files:

Download CSV-OpenAsText

Once you've opened a CSV file using this method, you can selectively convert columns from text to number or text to date using the "Text to Columns Wizard". Simply select the column, select the Data -> Text to Columns... menu and follow the wizard (the default options are usually sufficient).

The source for CSV-OpenAsText is also available.

Version History

  • 2009-03-08: 2.0 - Supports multi-line data and no longer modifies original file (renamed to CSV-OpenAsText)
  • 2008-06-29: 1.0 - Initial version (released as CSV-OpenText)