Why do I see Chinese characters or symbols when opening a CSV file?

As always, in this section we will explain situations that often happen. Such as the difficulty in opening certain jobs due to their format. We will teach you Why do you get Chinese characters and symbols when opening an Excel CSV file? But what are CSV files? We clarify that doubt.

CSV file

Its acronym (comma-separated values) or in Spanish (values ​​separated by commas) . It is a file format used to share data in a tabular way. That is, the information is structured in rows and columns . It also includes characters such as comma (,) and special characters, among them are eñes, accents and umlauts.

Believe it or not, this format is very popular, because it allows you to share information between many different applications . This file can be generated from an accounting program, online application or Excel. Due to these facilities, it is very convenient to create backups or save files in CSV format, so that you can open it in any program without worrying about which application you generated it.

Why do I see Chinese characters or symbols when opening a CSV file?

When you get special characters or symbols, it is usually because the CSV file is in Unicode UTF-16 format. This means that the file is encoded so that it can be opened in word processors that handle or support 16 bits.

And when these files are opened with Libre Office , like open Office (they are office automation software that includes the equivalent of Word, a slide editor and spreadsheets), they are not usually compatible with these formats . So it is usual to find these errors.

The solution for this error

  • Try opening the file with Libre Office.
  • A window will appear in which you will see some special characters and Chinese letters in the default section.
  • Go to the “Import” section in the “character set” field and select “Unicode UTF-8” in the drop-down bar , indicating that it is 8 bits . Making the file compatible.
  • When you select it, you will immediately notice how the file begins to reflect the data.
  • We press the “Open” button . And the file will open smoothly with correctly structured information.

If you open the file in Excel, but the information has special characters in the places where accents, eñes, umlauts , etc. go. What can we do? Well, we have to use the import or file conversion method . This method is also applicable to import from Notepad to Excel . Next, we will show you the steps:

  • First open Excel office software. And create a new book.
  • Go to the “Data” tab . In the section “Obtain data from external files” . Press the “From a text file” icon .
  • A dialogue window will appear. In it you will look for the file that reflects that error and we are going to import.
  • You click on “Import”
  • In the “Text Import Wizard” box , go to “file source” and select the “Unicode utf-8” option . And press the “Next” button .
  • In the box you will see the preview of the document. Recognizing the writing with its respective accents and eñes.
  • We click on “Finish”. Then a small window of “Import Data” will appear . You will indicate from which cell you want the information contained in the file to be reflected. Click “Accept”.
  • And ready..! The document will be opened respecting the special characters such as eñes, accents, umlauts, characteristic of our Spanish language. We advise you to save the file. So the next time you open it again you will have no problem.

As you can see, we indicate several tips to face these problems . In this way you will be able to correct and repair any CSV file that comes up with special characters or symbols. If you have any kind of comment or experience regarding this topic, leave us your comments.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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