I'm currently using the default Numbers application to open my CSVs. My current use case involves a file that I had to use a different type of separator (|). Is there any way to change the separator? Right now when I open the file it just puts the entire row in one column.


In Numbers you can use any separator when importing csv tables.

On the format sidebar, in the table tab, look for adjust Import settings. Inside it you have delimited options where you can even use custom delimiters

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    It's worth noting that this option is only shown when a CSV is already open, and it won't appear for non-CSV files :o) – Steve Jalim Apr 18 '19 at 14:16

Use sed; the Stream EDitor from Terminal.

sed -i -e 's/"|"/|,"/g' filename

s is used to replace the found expression "|" with ","

g is for "global", meaning do this to the whole line. If you omit the g option it will only replace the first instance, ignoring the rest

-i option is to "edit in place" meaning it changes the file itself.

-e option indicates the expression/command to run.

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    While this is very helpful if I were to convert the format, it does not help my current use case. I'm asking specifically to be able to use a different separator because my data contains commas. Thanks though, love how you explained what each part of the command helps do (plus I hadn't heard of sed before) – Tom Prats Jan 9 '17 at 14:20
  • It's not converting the format, it's still a CSV except that it's using a different separator character – Allan Jan 9 '17 at 14:35
  • That's what I meant by format. The separator is the problem here – Tom Prats Jan 9 '17 at 14:36
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    That's a limitation of Numbers. The only option is to work with your data as a CSV file then covert the separators using sed through Terminal or use Excel Online to save it as a CSV with your preferred format. – Allan Jan 9 '17 at 14:42

Another option, you can open it in OpenOffice/LibreOffice. It lets you pick exactly what the delimiters are. Then once it opens, save a copy in some other format, then you can open it in Pages.


Numbers >=5.0 after opening a csv-File you get a floating dialog "Table data was imported. Adjust Settings". When hitting "Adjust settings" you can control the delimiters. Found this solution in this tutorial

  • This answer was already provided in the accepted answer. To avoid downvotes you might want to edit the accepted answer to add the part about the floating sidebar which is just a different way to get to the same setting. – fsb Nov 6 '19 at 15:22

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