I'm using Excel (v 14.4.4) on my Mac (10.9.5). I have opened a CSV file and I wish to save it to an .xls format (Excel 97-2004 Workbook). I have a column that has 6 digit numbers, some of which begin with a leading zero. When I save my CSV to XLS, the cells with leading zeroes lose these leading zeroes. How do I keep them there?

2 Answers 2


From the Home tab, select the cells you wish to format, and from the format drop-down under Number select Custom. Or, right-click and choose Format Cells, or hit Cmd-1.

This will pop-up a dialog window with the various formatting options.

Again, make sure you're on Custom.

In the Type box type in: 000000

Click Ok.

Alternatively - change the formatting type to text. This will keep whatever you type in the box.

  • Although this displays the value as "062601", when I click on the cell, the value still appears as "62601" in that little window above the columns. I don't want the value to just appear as "062601," I want it to actually be "062601". Something is getting lost when I import from CSV.
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 20:44

It depends on what you are trying do do with the spreadsheet but putting <'> (single quote) in-front of the leading zero will preserve it with the conversion from CSV to xls format.

As @Alex says converting the cells to text will work, and inserting the single quote at the start of the cell just converts it to text.

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