I'm trying to export the following string

"sep = ,"

to a CSV-file, as to be able to define the separation symbol.

However, when using the following command:

Export["test.csv", Join[{"sep = ,"}, RandomInteger[{-5, 5}, {5, 3}]], "CSV"]

I get the quotes around the string in the first line:

"sep = ,"

This obviously isn't recognized by Excel and it doesn't open correctly. I've tried changing the string to something like

Style["sep=,", ShowStringCharacters -> False]

and then export again, but then I just get this whole command into the CSV-file.

Is there a method to export this string without the quotes attached to them into a CSV-file?

  • $\begingroup$ AFAIK, strings can only be exported without the quotation marks if done via streams, as in stream=OpenWrite[file];WriteString[stream, "string..."];Close@stream or if OpenWrite is called with the option FormatType -> OutputForm, but that might cause unwanted formatting on other characters. $\endgroup$ Jan 24, 2014 at 18:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Of curiosity is there some software that actually needs that header? Undoubtedly it will break many things (eg Mathematica will just include it as a data line if you import..) $\endgroup$
    – george2079
    Jan 24, 2014 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, this is standard behavior for Excel exports to CSV too. If a string contains a field separator (a comma in this case) it needs to be quoted otherwise it will be seen (incorrectly) as a field separator upon import. Excel will automatically quote the string $\endgroup$ Apr 27, 2014 at 19:54

2 Answers 2

 Export["test.csv", Join[{"sep = ,"}, 
        RandomInteger[{-5, 5}, {5, 3}]], "TextDelimiters"->None]

(With the obvious issue if you also have strings that should be quoted in the data )


If I try to create a CSV file without the first line indicating the seperator, the resulting file is readable by Excel.


But if you still want the first line, I would do something like this

 "sep = ,\n" <> ExportString[RandomInteger[{-5, 5}, {5, 3}], "CSV"]
 , "Text"]
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sadly, with my language settings, Excel wants ";" as delimiters. I've tried to change that, but that wasn't successful. Thanks for the good help! $\endgroup$
    – Gabriel
    Jan 24, 2014 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ Ahh, okay. Another solution would be to export it as a "Table" but usint the FieldSparators option. Like Export["test.csv",RandomInteger[{-5,5},{5,3}],"Table","FieldSeparators"->" ; "] $\endgroup$
    – Jason B.
    Jan 24, 2014 at 18:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Another approach might be to export comma separated, but with a "txt" extension. I think then Excel will pop up a box and let you tell it what the delimiter is. $\endgroup$
    – george2079
    Jan 24, 2014 at 20:13

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