Difference Between Excel and CSV

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: May 31, 2023


Difference Between Excel and CSV

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CSV is a textual filesystem storing the data in punctuation mark units. As a result, CSV data may be accessed in code editors such as notebooks and evaluated for retrieving and extracting the required information. In today's world, every corporate executive can't survive without Excel. Excel enables them to collect the necessary data, edit, analyse, and export. Furthermore, it is a highly structured and ordered file format created expressly for summary statistics and the correlation of elements from multiple separate tables.

Excel vs CSV

The distinction between CSV and XLS file formats is that CSV is a simple text standard with information distinguished by punctuation (Comma Separated Values), but XLS is an Excel Sheets digital data format that includes details about all of the spreadsheets in a collection, encompassing both contents and styling.

Differences Between Excel And CSV (in Tabular Form)

Compared to CSV, Excel is typically bulkier, clumsier, and more difficult.The user doesn't need any special software to open a CSV file; it can easily be accessed in a word processor and comprehended.
Excel uses more storage than a CSV file.Excel uses more RAM than CSV.
Compared to Excel, CSV cannot simply do VBA coding, operations, equations, or construct highlights.When opposed to Excel, CSV is often speedier and less difficult.
Excel files cannot be edited with text editors, and they can also be passcode restricted.Text editors freely modify CSV files, and CSV files cannot be passcode secured.
Compared to CSV, processing large data sets is considerably easier for the end-user to read, absorb, and interpret.Unlike CSV, Excel can quickly do VBA coding, operations, formulae, and construct reports.
Compared to Excel, processing large amounts of data is far more difficult for the end-user to absorb and retain.CSV cannot simply do VBA coding, operations, equations, or construct highlights compared to Excel.
Excel also allows users to externally integrate data from other resources and create special updates.Compared to CSV, Excel can only be viewed with Microsoft Office and does not enable any other system.
Excel also allows users to integrate data from other resources and create special updates externally.When contrasted to Excel, CSV form does not have such a functionality.

What is Excel?

Microsoft Excel is a worksheet program for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS that Microsoft established. It incorporates calculating and information processing tools, charting tools, pivot tables, and Visual Basic for Applications, a macro programming language (VBA). Excel is a program that is incorporated into the Microsoft Office package of programs.

Basic operations of Excel

Microsoft Excel uses a grid of cells arranged in numerical rows and letter-named columns to organize data computations such as mathematical operations, as do all worksheets. It comes with several built-in features to help with statistical, technical, and budget problems. It also has a rudimentary three-dimensional visual presentation and can visualize information as line charts, scatter plots, and infographics. It allows data to be separated into pieces in order and see how different causes influence it from different perspectives. A Pivot Table is a data analysis technique. It accomplishes this by using PivotTable attributes to simplify big data sets. It features a programming component called Visual Basic for Applications, which allows the user to apply a wide range of numerical methods, such as solving partial differential coefficients in applied mathematics and then sending the test results to the worksheet. It also has some engaging capabilities that make an interface to entirely hide the spreadsheet from the reader, enabling it to introduce itself as an implementation, or decision support system (DSS), through a custom-designed interface, such as a stock analysis tool, or as an authoring tool that needs to ask the consumer inquiries and delivers responses and reviews. An Excel program may poll foreign datasets and measurement devices on a routine basis using an updated timetable, analyze the results, generate a Word document or PowerPoint slide show, and e-mail these displays to a selection list. Excel was never meant to be used as a repository.

History of Excel

Since its initial release, Excel has permitted end-user macro scripting (highly automated repetitive activities) and subscriber operations (extensions of Excel's built-in functional library). These programs were created in a macro language with equation semantics in previous editions of Excel, and they were saved in the cells of particularly unique macro worksheets (file extension. In Windows, use XLM.) Excel's standard macro language until Excel 4.0 was XLM. Excel began recording macros in VBA by default with version 5.0. However, XLM recording was still available as an option. That option was removed in version 5.0. An XLM macro can be run in any version of Excel, particularly Excel 2010; however, Microsoft forbids its use.

Password protection feature of Excel

Microsoft Excel passcode security includes a password to access a document, a password to alter a record, and a code to delete a file. To unlock the worksheet, you'll need a passcode. Protect the workbook with a password and the shared workbook with a password. Irrespective of the Microsoft Excel edition used to generate the file, all passwords excluding the passcode to open it can be erased quickly. These passwords are typically used for collaborative work on a document. The data sources from a specified password are retained in the document's header, and password-protected documents are not encrypted. The only form of a password that will keep a trespasser out of a document is a password to open a document. The encryption efficacy of this form of security is highly dependent on the version of Microsoft Excel being used to generate the file.

Therefore, the only way to utilize Excel is to employ a Microsoft Excel document. In addition, not only text but also charts, photos, infographics, and other graphics can be included. Even if the files are enormous, the user can immediately examine the data on the tabs. Because the data is separated into line segments, this is the case.

What is CSV?

A comma-separated values (CSV) database is a text file with values kept separate by commas. An electronic document is represented by each line in the document. Each entry has one or even more elements, which are delimited by commas. The title for this format file comes from the use of commas as a field divider. A CSV file includes carrying data formats (numbers and text) in clear text, with the same variety of fields in each section. The CSV file format isn't completely conventional. The basis is to use commas to separate fields. However, punctuation in the data or insert line breaks must be treated differently. Some algorithms forbid such contents, while others encircle the field with quotations, necessitating escape if quote marks are present in this study. The name "CSV" also refers to many closely related delimiter-separated formats that employ semicolons as field tags.   There are two types of tab-separated values: tab-separated virtues and space-separated principles. Parsing is substantially simplified by using a delimiter that is guaranteed not to be part of the data. Despite the usage of a non-comma field separator, alternative delimiter-segregated files are sometimes given the ".csv" suffix. Data exchange can be hampered by this ambiguous wording. Many apps that accept CSV files provide you the option of choosing the delimiter and quote characters. Many European localities employ semicolons rather than commas to avoid using the comma as a decimal delimiter and, presumably, the period as a numeric cluster element.

Basic operations of CSV

Consumer, industrial, and related technologies all support CSV as a popular data exchange format. Moving tabular data between programs that operate on incompatible (sometimes private or unsupported) formats is one of its most prevalent applications. Because so many programs allow variations on the CSV format for data input, this works notwithstanding the absence of adherence to RFC 4180 (or any other standard). For instance, a user could need to move data from a database software with a patented structure to a worksheet with a different format. The data from most software packages may be exported as CSV files, which can then be loaded into a spreadsheet program.

History of CSV

Comma-separated values (CSV) is a data type that precedes desktop computers by more than a dozen years: CSV was first implemented in 1972 by the IBM Fortran (level H extended) processor under OS/360. FORTRAN 77, which was authorized in 1978, featured list-directed ("free form") feedback. Uncited character strings could not comprise commas or spaces because list-directed input required commas or spaces as delimiters. By 1983, the terms "comma-separated value" and "CSV" had become commonplace. The Osborne Executive computer's documentation explains the CSV quoting protocol, which permits phrases to include nested commas, but it does not specify a protocol for integrating quote marks behind quoted sequences. Fixed-column-aligned data is more difficult to write (for example, into punched cards), and comma-separated variable lists are less likely to provide inaccurate results if a value is punctured one column off from its designated place. Database information is sent across workstations with various architectures using separate files. CSV files' plain-text nature virtually eliminates incompatibilities like byte order and word size. Because the files are mostly human-readable, dealing with them is easier when there isn't ideal information or interaction. RFC 4180, establishing CSV as a MIME Content-Type, was the key standardization endeavor in 2005, changing the "de facto hazy definition" into a more explicit and de jure one. Later, in 2013, a W3C proposal rectified some of RFC 4180's shortcomings. The IETF issued RFC 7111 in 2014, which describes how to use URI fragments in CSV records. RFC 7111 describes how to use position indexes to pick a row, column, and cell ranges from a CSV document. In a quest to boost CSV with formal logic, the W3C published the first draughts of CSV metadata standards guidelines in 2015, which became guidelines in December of that same year.

Therefore, after opening it, we can see that it is in text file format, and the main advantage of CSV is that it can be opened with software like MS Excel, NotePad, MS Works 9, and others. However, it does not allow any additional hard drives to be used with it. CSV is commonly utilized to do professional tasks. The sole negative that significantly impacts its customers is that as CSV files grow in size, consumers struggle to read them because they are only divided by commas.

Differences Between Excel And CSV in Points

  • Excel is a digital data format used in spreadsheets and workbooks. On the other hand, CSV stands for Comma-Separated Values. CSV is a simple text format that consists of values delimited by commas on each line. CSV is a text file that contains data and is not compatible with Excel.
  • CSV files are structured and can be imported from various databases. They can be created from datasets in Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, Sybase, Informatics, Access, Excel, and other databases.
  • Excel serves not only as a platform for finance managers to perform detailed data analysis but also as a valuable repository of information. Analysts can use Excel to create income and expense reports, calculate profitability ratios, summarize large amounts of data, and perform various calculations and formulas. It offers more functionalities than just being a database. In contrast, CSV is a plain text format that does not allow for detailed analysis or the application of algorithms.
  • When comparing Excel to CSV, Excel is the preferred format. CSV files occupy less file space and are faster to process when importing data. CSV does not modify the data and preserves it in its original format. Excel also offers additional functionality through its add-ins.


Excel and CSV are two examples of applications that are extensively utilized daily as well as on operating systems. The sheets are the one primary distinction that distinguishes them from one another; Excel sheets are tabular, but CSV files are not tabular and commas isolate the entries. Each file's operating system is also distinct from the others. The software can be chosen depending on the architecture.

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"Difference Between Excel and CSV." Diffzy.com, 2023. Wed. 27 Sep. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-excel-and-csv-1214>.

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