Formatting CSV numeric values

Copper Contributor

I created a CSV file with a twelve numeric value id (as in a Medicaid Id).  The Excel sheet converts this 12 digit number into a 1E+11 format.  Is there a way to prevent this?

11 Replies

Hi @Flikkery ,

You can try formatting your cell as text.

Right click > Format Cells... > under "Number" tab, select "Text"

I don't think this will convert to the full 12 digits view if it has already been converted to "1E+11" but if you re-input the data it should stick.



@Bennadeau The end user has to format the column the way you suggested, formatting the cell with a "Custom" format, and replacing the "General" with twelve zeroes.  This works, however, as an IT department furnishing the Excelsheet, we want to circumvent the user from formatting the column.


As the IT department, can you format the spreadsheet however you want, push it to your users and instruct them to use it? That way they will use a standardized template and they won't have to do any of the formatting.

The thing is that what you are talking about isn't a CSV formatting issue, it is an excel display issue.  Excel automatically makes those numbers into sci format.  There is nothing you can change in excel to change that when you send a file.  It is all about the User and they would have to change the format.

If you want to control the format and lock the workbook you would have to turn the CSV into an excel file and do all the number formatting and then lock the sheet so the end user doesn't have to do it.

Keep in mind all a csv file is, is a text file that excel recognizes commas as a way to make a column.

@Bennadeau We have a template to use for sending spread sheets over the internet via an attachment in an email. The spread sheet is all formatted, including several header records.  However, now they want a CSV file, so we can't use the formatted excel sheet we send them.  I was thinking maybe adding a =TEST(A1,"000000000000") string to the field....

@Maverick494 I figured.  It's not the CSV data but Excel that is doing the conversion.  We send an HTML formatted Excel Sheet with all the fields formatted the way they want it.  However, since they want a CSV, I have stated that there is no way to prevent Excel from doing the SCI formatting...


Not sure if this will work for you but either you pre-pend the number with a single quote when you create the CSV which will format the cell as text or open that CSV using Notepad/Wordpad.

I get that this may not be the solution you're looking for but I hope it may lead you in the direction of your solution.

@Bennadeau Yes, by making the numeric value as an alphanumeric value with the addition of any none numeric value, like a single quote, within the value impedes Excel from the SCI formatting. This doesn't circumvent the need for the user to manipulate the data, since they will need to REPLACE the quote with nulls.

@Flikkery I think you got it, but you need to surround the formula with quotes to escape the comma inside it. Then the CSV file looks like this for the number 1234567890123:


previous column, "=TEXT(1234567890123,0)", subsequent column

@ChrisSantosLang i just cannot get the imported CSV to change the numbers to number, even after changing text to coulumns so that i can calculate a column of numbers.  i am having to type in each number to that excel recognises a number.  i have used formats to change to accounting or even currency and nothing works.  this is becoming a very manual process.  i am on Windows 10.

@zoeMD955 "=TEXT()" is a formula that worked for me. If formulas do not work for you even applied manually in the spreadsheet, then I can understand why they wouldn't help in the CSV (and that seems like a different issue).