Spreadsheet Data Delimiter/Separator Characters

Spreadsheet files are typically text-based files that use a "delimiter" or "separator" to separate data columns/fields. The delimiter is typically a single character, such as a comma (the default delimiter for CSV [comma-separate values] files).

Below is an example of a .csv spreadsheet. Saving this example into a text file with the .csv extension would cause the file to open with Excel, OpenOffice, or whichever spreadsheet software may be installed on your system. However, you can also edit these types of files in a text editor application.

Example of .csv File with Comma Delimiter:

name,lat,lng
Miami,25.767368,-80.1893
Los Angeles,34.088808,-118.40612

Note that the first row is the "header row" and identifies the name for each column, and that they are separated by a comma (","). This instructs the spreadsheet software (and our data importer) about the data contained in each column.

The second and third rows in this example contain actual data corresponding to their column as defined by the header, i.e., first the name of the location, then the latitude ("lat"), and finally the longitude ("lng").

In some cases, values may also be "enclosed" in quotes. This depends on the software used to create the file and the type of data.

Other Delimiter Types

Sometimes, characters other than a comma may be used for the delimiter. Typical alternatives include:

  • tab (\t)
  • semicolon (;)
  • pipe (|)

If your data uses one of these delimiters, it is important that you specify the correct delimiter when performing the data import. If our data importer is not looking for the correct delimiter, it will not be able to identify the data fields in your data file.

For questions or support with importing data, please contact us.

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