How to fix UTF-8 issues in csv-files excel life hack

Excel life hack: How to fix UTF-8 Problems

It is not very difficult to fix this annoying problem, but it took me long enough to find the solution. Excel can have a problem with German characters: ü, ö, ä, etcetera for .csv-files that use the general UTF-8 standard.

German character problem with .csv files

Changing the encoding settings of the file seemed like the easiest way. Unfortunately, this did not work in my case. It took me quite a while to find the solution on Quora. This is more of a work-around than an actual fix, but it works on both Windows and Mac-PCs.

Follow these steps to fix your broken .csv-file:

  1. Open the csv-file that needs to be fixed in Microsoft Excel
  2. Click = Save as, and save the file as a .txt file
  3. Close Excel
  4. Re-open Excel (don't click on the new text-file to open it)
  5. Open the .txt file FROM Excel (this is important)
  6. A dialog box will show up: on the right change the encoding to UTF-8 (see screenshot below)
  7. Follow the regular steps to create a tab-separated file
  8. Save this file once again as a .csv-file
Change the encoding to Unicode (UTF-8)

The next time you open the .csv file, all of your characters should look exactly as they should. It might not be the perfect solution, but it works.


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