I have a process, which has worked faithfully for years in Numbers '09, whereby I download my Bank account data in CSV format, then drag that data directly into my Numbers sheet (after creating an appropriate number of blank rows).

This no longer works, and I can't find an option to import csv! A help search within numbers for 'csv' returns a single result which describes exporting.

I've tried the old method, no dice. Also, the menu option: Insert > Choose… doesn't permit .csv to be selected.

At the moment, my workaround is:

  • drag the CSV onto the Numbers dock or task-switcher icon to create a temp sheet
  • select and copy the content
  • paste-and-match-format into my desired location
  • close don't save the temp file

Doe anyone know a better way? A hack or hidden flag I can toggle to get the old functionality back?


9 Answers 9


So the Apple thread recommended changing the txt to csv. This didn't work, my file was already csv, properly formated etc. No, changing to txt did the trick.
I'm finding it harder and harder to recommend switching from Microsoft to Apple. This sort thing just shouldn't be happening.

  • Would have been +1 for the method, but overwhelmed by the -1 for the gripe.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 10, 2016 at 13:40
  • 2
    +1 for the method and because it seems a reasonable gripe for some very frustrating Mac behaviour Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 10:45

I have faced a similar problem: after exporting a csv file from MySQL I tried to open directly into Numbers but it did not open correctly so I tried to drag the file onto an open sheet and it also and did not work.

Then I read lot of things on Internet about how Numbers deals with comma, so I exported the data once again switching comma (,) for semicolon (;) and voilà!

  • that did the trick for me too!
    – Panthro
    Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 11:43

Simple solution for getting a csv file to open correctly on a Mac. Change the csv file extension to txt. Then right click on it and open with Numbers.

  • This is essentially the same answer as the one provided by @mercergeoinfo
    – Besi
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 9:02

Dragging and dropping a CSV onto a table works again since v3.2!

Currently in v6, I find that I can drag data onto an existing table, but it will overwrite the table's contents.

To preserve existing rows:

  • select the file in Finder and Copy
  • select the target cell in your target table (usually the last row in column A)
  • Paste

When selecting the target cell, you may want to hit Escape to ensure you're not in edit mode.

  • But what it does is create a new table within the spreadsheet. How do I add the data to an existing table without copying and pasting?
    – Calion
    Commented Jul 22, 2018 at 2:22
  • 1
    Not sure about 'without copying and pasting' @Calion - my objective is to avoid needing to create a temporary sheet... I've updated my instructions above - HTH! :)
    – ptim
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 0:43

Use 'tab' delimited fields - works perfectly.


if you've copied the CSV and know how to use the terminal:

pbpaste | tr , \\\t | pbcopy 

will translate your comma delimited selection to tab-delimited right on the clipboard.

  • Who knew about pbpaste/pbcopy ?!!
    – jhfrontz
    Commented Jan 2 at 16:32

In Verson 6 of Numbers I was able to just highlight the data in the column of the CSV I needed and dragged the data to the excel template I had been given.

The company would no longer except the milage report from the app on my phone. The app would export a CSV file of the data.

The report from the app had a lot more columns and headers than the company supplied excel template.

I was able to just highlight the dates in the dates column of the report and drag it to the dates column of the template. The same with other necessary columns. Description, beginning and ending miles, etc.


Ok, so none of that worked for me. here's how I did it. It required InDesign though. So I converted the .vcf file online to .csv. I then opened the .csv in Text Edit. Then I copied the text and pasted it into an InDesign doc (A4 blank) Highlight all of the text in the text box In the top menu go to Tables > Convert Text To Table Then simply copy the entire table (not the text box it's in, with the type tool you have to select the table cells). Then open a Numbers blank doc. Delete any table that is there. go to File > Paste Hey presto, you have an editable table with all of your contacts.

I know it's a bummer you need InDesign, but it's my go-to for solving issues like this. Hope this helps.

  • 1
    Have both Numbers and excel on my mac and BOTH open a CSV file without any issue at all. Can right-click and also select which program I want to open the file with, works like a charm.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 7:50
  • Trying to see what the relevance of your reference to .vcf (V-card file) is to the original question?
    – bjbk
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 19:20

Import the csv file into Excel. Then "copy" the entries and "paste" into Numbers.

But it is shocking that Numbers cannot import an industry-standard csv file. Even more shocking when one remembers that we used to be able to.

  • If someone already has Excel installed then there doesn't appear to be a need to use Numbers. Also, I don't see in the question where the OP states they have Excel installed. Please see How to Answer for tips on answering questions here.
    – fsb
    Commented Nov 3, 2018 at 14:02

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