• In certain cases, we can get to confuse the CVS and XLS formats, taking into account that both can be manipulated perfectly from Excel, and their appearance is not too different.
  • However, it is fair to point out that they are two different file formats, only one of which is closely related to Office spreadsheets, while the other is only similar in certain ways.

After introducing Microsoft Excel and its spreadsheets, you will probably start to run into some or other difficulties typical of people who use this program on a daily basis. And those drawbacks can be related, for example, with the types of formats. Without going any further, although we usually work with both formats in Excel, and we know that they are not the same, Do you know what the difference between CSV and XLS files really is?

Well, throughout the following article we are going to try to explain how these two format files differ, surely the two most related to Microsoft Office spreadsheets.

The first thing you have to keep in mind is that both Excel, with its XLS format, and the CSV format, take care of store data in tabular format. However, we can say that the similarities end there, forcing us then the situation to retrace their differences, so that you know which one to stay with in each case.

General differences between XLS and CSV

If we talk about the difference between CSV and XLS files, first of all we must say that it is not one. There are several. So many that it is worth making a review of its most outstanding qualities.

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The first conclusion is that Excel XLS or XLSX files are non-binary files, containing information about all worksheets in a workbook, while CSV files refer to plain text formats, with a series of values ​​separated by commas, as the acronym indicates: “Comma Separated Values”.

In Excel not only data is stored, but we can also perform actions or operations about them. When we have a CSV file, it will store data, but not formats, formulas, etc.

The compatibility with text editors is another element to consider, since they are not capable of opening files stored in XLS or XLSX, but they can handle CSV files.

Excel files, due to their potential, tend to be much heavier and require more system resources than CSV. On the contrary, importing CSV files can be much faster.

And, no less, an Excel file can only be opened with one of the versions of Excel.

difference CSV XLS files 2

Main differences between XLS and CSV

We have already gone over the more general differences between the two, but if you intend to be a little more specific, then you have to take a look at this one. list of the main differences, the most important:

  • CSV is a format for saving tabular information in a delimited text file with a CSV extension, while Excel is a spreadsheet that keeps files in your own proprietary format, XLS or XLSX.
  • CSV is a plain text format with a series of values ​​separated by commas, while Excel is a binary file that contains information about all worksheets in a workbook.
  • The CSV file cannot perform operations on the data, while Excel can perform operations.
  • CSV files are faster and also consume less memory.
  • Comparing CSV with Excel, CSV files can be opened with any text editor in Windowswhereas Excel files cannot be opened with text editors. They need some version of Excel.
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And are they similar in something else?

We said before that both are responsible for storing data in tabular format. But are they similar in anything else?

The answer is yes, there are other characteristics in which they resemble, although they are rather few, of course:

  • Both can be opened in spreadsheet programs.
  • Data is stored in tabular formats, that is, columns and rows
  • Both can be manipulated, using functions and features that are typical of Excel

Remember, finally, that you can always import CSV (text) data into Excel if you need it.

Another solution is to use pages like Converted, to convert from CVS to XLS or XLSX in just seconds.

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