Remember to always check your file types. Operating systems, and integrated applications, often associate file types with a preferred set of applications; these preferences may not match your own.
A common problem is trying to open a .csv (comma separated value) file with Microsoft Excel® as the associated application. This is important, because Ringgold export files are .csv files using ””,”” delimitation. Such files should never be opened by ‘opening with Excel’ (e.g. double clicking from a file explorer and spawning an instance of Excel which opens the file). Excel is a powerful tool, but at times, it can be a bit too ‘helpful’.
There are default data import settings that can cause unrecoverable corruption to non-.xls files when not formally imported. Any instance of numeric data stored as text, such as postcodes or proprietary numbers, may be corrupted as Excel attempts to convert the text into a numeric value it can work with.
Most of us don’t need to conduct calculations against such data, but preserving its integrity is paramount. .csv files are text files. This is a good choice for data interchange because of the ability to be used by the widest range of systems.
When working with such files, be careful; make backup copies to work with, use text editors such as Notepad++ to open files directly, and use Excel’s import feature to bring .csv data into the application. To accomplish this, Microsoft has provided instructions: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Import-or-export-text-txt-or-csv-files-5250ac4c-663c-47ce-937b-339e391393ba
Pay close attention to the import wizard settings:
- Step 1 of 3: Ringgold .csv is output as UTF-8, and includes headers
- Step 2 of 3: Select ‘Comma’ as the delimiter
- Step 3 of 3: Change Column data format from the default ‘General’ to ‘Text’
Once you’re happy with the data in Excel, it can be saved as a workbook, and opened directly with Excel in the future.
Saving a file from Excel, as a ‘text’ file, is a topic that requires its own treatment as not all text files are created equal, and there are several important considerations. We defer to Microsoft Support for guidance in using Excel to create a .csv text file output that encapsulates all field entries in quotes to preserve data as text: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/291296/procedure-to-export-a-text-file-with-both-comma-and-quote-delimiters-in-excel