How to remove hidden quote marks and tabs from CSV files

Posted on November 11, 2015 at 8:59 am Written by

When exporting a database of subscribers as a .csv (comma separated variable) file, many types of software can add unwanted quote marks (“) and tab characters to the data.

Additionally, programs such as Microsoft Excel (often used to open .csv files to make viewing of columns easier) can insert invisible quote marks around unrecognised symbols.

This will not be obvious until you try to upload the exported file into a NewZapp account. The extra quote marks and tabs can dramatically alter the way the data is formatted so they are best removed before bringing the file contents into the account.

notepadMethod for revealing and removing extra quote marks

1. Right click on the .csv subscriber data file and open with Notepad (or TextEdit on Mac)

2. Once the file is opened, the quote marks will be visible. Use ‘Find and Replace’ or an equivalent function to remove all the quote marks

3. Close your file, remembering to ‘Save Changes’. This will automatically save your file in .csv format

Method for removing extra tab characters

1. Right click on the .csv subscriber data file and open with Word (you can also use Pages on a Mac)

2. Once the file is opened, go to the ‘Replace’ tool (‘Find’ > ‘Advanced’ in Pages)

3. In Word, click on the ‘More’ button, then click on the ‘Replace’ > ‘Special’ button (in Pages for Mac, click the ‘Insert’ button)

4. Select ‘Tab Character’ from the list – this will be inserted into the ‘Find what’ field

5. Leave the ‘Replace with’ field blank and click ‘Replace all’ to remove all the tab characters

6. Close your file, remembering to ‘Save Changes’. This will automatically save your file in .csv
format

word

Your subscriber data is now ready to be imported into your NewZapp account, with the data appearing in the correct columns.

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