How to open a CSV file that uses Pipe Delimiters in Microsoft Excel

CSV stands for comma separated file, sometimes we don’t want to use comma’s in a CSV file and decide to rather use a Pipe Delimiter | especially in cases where one of the columns contains a paragraph with comma’s in. Open Office provides us with a option to choose the Delimiter when opening CSV files, but MS Excel does not. But luckily theres a way around this.

NOTE: This how-to has been based on Windows Vista, but will work on other Windows versions as well.


  • Microsoft Excel uses the current list separator in the locale settings of Windows
  • Go to Control Panel

    Control Panel

  • Open Regional and Language Options

    Regional and Language Options

  • Click on Customize this format…

    Customize this format...

  • The Customize Regional Options window will appear

    Customize Regional Options

  • Change the List separator from , (COMMA DELIMITER) to | (PIPE DELIMITER)

    List separator

  • Open the CSV file with Pipe Delimiters again in MS Excel and it will open as expected.

Image Credits: Photo by Isis França on Unsplash.

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