In .CSV File Format, Symbols Becomes Question Mark, Please Help

Copper Contributor

Question mark comes out when I insert a symbol in .csv File format in excel, it happens after done save only. Can anyone fix this issue for me, it will be a great help and will be highly appreciated.

Screenshot 2024-05-22 111953.png

1 Reply


When working with CSV files in Excel, the issue of symbols becoming question marks is typically due to character encoding problems. CSV files are plain text files, and their default encoding often does not support special symbols or non-ASCII characters, particularly if they are saved with a default encoding like ANSI or ASCII. This can lead to issues with special symbols and characters not being displayed correctly, often replaced by question marks or other placeholder characters.


To ensure that special symbols and non-ASCII characters are preserved correctly, it is essential to use UTF-8 encoding. UTF-8 supports a wide range of characters and symbols from different languages, making it the most suitable encoding for CSV files that contain such characters.

Ensuring Correct Encoding in CSV Files

Here are the steps you can follow to ensure that your CSV files are properly encoded and display all characters correctly:

Saving CSV with UTF-8 Encoding in Excel 365

  1. Open your Excel file that you want to save as a CSV.
  2. Go to File > Save As.
  3. Choose a location where you want to save the file.
  4. In the Save As dialog:
    • Choose "CSV UTF-8 (Comma delimited) (*.csv)" from the "Save as type" dropdown menu.
  5. Save the file.

Importing CSV File with UTF-8 Encoding in Excel 365

  1. Open Excel 365 (do not open the CSV file directly by double-clicking it).
  2. Go to the Data tab.
  3. Click on "Get Data" or "Get External Data".
  4. Select "From Text/CSV".
  5. Browse and select your CSV file.
  6. In the Import Data dialog:
    • Ensure that the File Origin is set to "65001: Unicode (UTF-8)".
  7. Click Load.

Using a Text Editor to Verify and Save Encoding

  1. Open your CSV file in a text editor like Notepad++.
  2. Check the current encoding by looking at the status bar or going to the Encoding menu.
  3. If the encoding is not UTF-8, convert it by selecting "Encoding" > "Convert to UTF-8".
  4. Save the file.

Example Process in Notepad++

  1. Open Notepad++.
  2. Open your CSV file in Notepad++.
  3. Go to Encoding > Convert to UTF-8 (if it’s not already in UTF-8).
  4. Save the file.


  • Default Encoding Issues: The default encoding for CSV files may not support special symbols or non-ASCII characters, often leading to display issues.
  • Use UTF-8 Encoding: To ensure all characters are preserved, save your CSV files with UTF-8 encoding.
  • Import Correctly in Excel: When importing CSV files into Excel, make sure to specify UTF-8 encoding to avoid character corruption.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your CSV files are properly encoded and display all characters correctly in Excel 365. The text and the steps were created with the help of AI.


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Hope this will help you.

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