If you do not have Microsoft Excel, or an Open Source counterpart like Open Office or Libre Office installed, and you have a csv file that you need to open, you may have tried to get it opened on Google Docs. Google's online document management service surprisingly does not support csv files out of the box. When you try to open a csv on the site, you will receive the message that no preview is available, and that the only option is to download the file to the local computer system.
Since you do not have a program supporting csv documents on your local computer, that would not make sense at all. What many Google Docs users do not know is that there is an option available to display the contents of the csv file on Google Docs.
The Google product supports document conversions, and that is what you need to do to view the file on the website. If you have the csv file opened on Google Docs, you see a screen very similar to the one above. Click on the File menu at the top, and select Export to Google spreadsheet from the context menu.
When you do that you see a notification that the document is being processed. This should not take too long, unless the csv file has a very large size. Once converted, it is displayed as a spreadsheet on Google Docs. Keep in mind that you are now working with the converted file, and not the original anymore.
If you need to access the contents of csv files regularly on Google Docs, you may want to configure the service to automatically convert the uploaded documents to Google Docs format. If you have not done so already, click on the settings icon in the main document listing, select Upload Settings from the context menu, and there the Convert uploaded files to Google Docs format option.
The files are then automatically converted to Google Docs format when you upload them. Keep in mind that this affects all supported document types that you upload to the site, and not only csv files.Advertisement
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.