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Help! My CSV download looks terrible
Help! My CSV download looks terrible

Good news: Under Dashboard Settings is a "delimiter" setting that you can edit

Written by Tess
Updated over a week ago

Did you download exciting data from CrowdTangle, but you open it to find that line breaks from stories have made a mess of your spreadsheet? You're not alone, but fortunately, there's an easy answer!

TL;DR: If you have access (if not, ask someone on your team), go to Gear->Dashboard Settings:

Inside, you will see this:

Change that to a ; and hit Save, then try your download again and you should be in good shape!

The full story (for the brave):

This is a tale of international differences, data importing defaults, and strange choices made by product managers. We'll try to make this quick.

  1. Due to localization differences, and despite the name, CSV (comma-separated value) reports are separated by commas in some parts of the world and by semicolons in others.

  2. By default, CrowdTangle CSVs come with commas as separators, not semicolons.

  3. When you double-click a CSV, Excel makes assumptions about how to open it based on your country. In the US, it expects commas, and opens our CrowdTangle CSVs perfectly. If you're in a semicolon country, Excel doesn't handle the comma version well, and the line breaks destroy the spreadsheet.

  4. For unknown reasons, the set of filters that Excel applies when you double-click are NOT replicable via File->Open or File->Import. Even if you separate by commas, line breaks ruin everything, even in a comma country like the US.

What this means is that if you're in a semicolon country, a comma-separated file is basically unusable. So follow the above instructions to set your separator, redo your download, and be on your way!

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