CSV Editing

Posted by Kirby Turner on April 10, 2007

CSV (also known as comma separated values, comma separated list, or comma separated variable) is a commonly used file format that stores tabular data. Each data element, or value, is separated with a comma or other single character delimiter such as a Tab character. These types of files are also called delimited text files or flat files.

Many software application support CSV delimited text files either as an import or export data format. For example, Outlook users can export the address book to a comma separated value file and import the contacts into another application.

I have worked with comma and tab delimited text files throughout most of my career. I have written applications that produce delimited text and consume delimited text. And while XML is my preferred file format for sharing data there is no escaping the usefulness of CSV delimited text files.

While CSV delimited text files are typically used to import and export data between software applications there are times when individuals must manually create or edit comma and tab delimited text files. And many of these individuals use a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel. However, using a full featured spreadsheet such as Excel to create and edit CSV delimited text files seems overkill to me.

For starters, say you only need to manipulate CSV delimited text files and have no need for working with spreadsheets. The licensing cost of Excel is hardly justified. Secondly Excel imposes certain size limitations. Excel is limited to 65,536 rows of data and 256 columns per worksheet. This means you will not be able to open a delimited text file containing 100,000 rows. Faced with high licensing cost, overkill list of features, and size limitations I decided to write Killink.

Killink is a spreadsheet-like editor for delimited text files. It supports delimited text files using any single character delimiter including comma and tab, and it supports large delimited text files.

Version 1.0 is currently in beta test which is open to the public. Visit the Killink download page and give the latest release a test drive. I appreciate any feedback, good or bad, you might have about Killink. Feedback can be posted to the Killink Support forum.

Update: Microsoft has improved the limitation of Excel. Excel 2007 supports 1 million rows per worksheet.

Posted in business. Tagged in killink, white peak software.

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