I have multiple versions of Microsoft Office installed because who knows when I'll have to open some old version of a file that may not work well in newest Office.

I want csv files to open in the most recent version of excel (~16.12) by default. I press cmd+i with the csv file selected and i tell it to open with the newest version of excel and then i choose Change All... I get a confirmation dialog:

Are you sure you want to change all similar documents to open with the application “Microsoft Excel.app”?

This change will apply to all documents with extension “.csv”.

So I confirm (Continue).

Then promptly the info window shows the previous/wrong version of Excel.

update: this seems to be resolved, but I honestly have no idea why. Possibly Microsoft or MacOS updates? Possibly (more likely?) the restarts those updates caused?

  • For some reason this problem went away, I cannot think what I could have done to fix it. Perhaps updates? My Excel now reports v16.14.1
    – Michael
    Jul 2, 2018 at 14:11

4 Answers 4


This is an issue if you have two versions of Excel installed at once (like 2011 and 2016) in Mac OS. There is a way to sort this out.

Click on the file in question and drag it into the icon for the Excel you want to associate it with (like the 2016 icon in your dock). It will now associate all CSV files with excel 2016.

Caveat: if you have only Excel 2011 open and not 2016 and you click to open that file it will open in 2011. If you have 2011 and 2016 open at the same time it will open in 2016. If you have neither excel open it will open in 2016.

Note: the Get info will now read the association correctly but do not hit the Open With button as that will re-associate it with 2011.


One solution I've observed with this issue is to make sure the newer version of Excel is not running or else it will take over opening the file from the old Excel.

  • sorry if i'm unclear. i want the newest version to indeed be the one that opens the file, and despite it being open, i'm experiencing the opposite.
    – Michael
    Apr 14, 2018 at 2:54

I have the same problem. I think it's a Microsoft issue, and it specifically affects people with two versions of MS office. I have Office 2011 and 2016 on my Mac.

I want downloaded CSV files to automatically open in the 2016 version of Excel. Neither version of the apps is running. In the finder/file info window, I can set a specific file to open in Excel 2016, but when I click on 'change all' then accept the 'are you sure..' message, it reverts to the older version of Excel.

Even if I set it for an individual file then double-click on the file, it doesn't open in Excel 2016. The error message says "“[my-file-name].csv” can’t be opened because it is from an unidentified developer. Your security preferences allow installation of only apps from the App Store and identified developers."

So a CSV file is being treated as an application. See https://excel.uservoice.com/forums/304933-excel-for-mac/suggestions/33845770-in-high-sierra-csv-files-are-being-treated-like

  • thanks for sharing your common experience. I'm not a StackExchange expert, but I think the idea is to make comments like yours using the comment feature of the appropriate question/answer, and reserve "answer" posts for possible solutions. Unless I'm misunderstanding it, your post does not propose a solution.
    – Michael
    Jul 2, 2018 at 14:10

You definitely got a different instance of Excel somewhere in your system. Here’s how you make sure you open all your CSVs with the desired versiоn:

step 1: [ctrl]-tap any CSV file in finder, then highlight “open with” and press [option] as well (notice how “open with” turns into “always open with”. Now, while still holding those keys choose “Other...” from the drop down menu, navigate to the exact instance of the app and Choose that certain app bundle you want to open CSVs with After it opens your file and you are happy with the result, focus that CSV of yours in Finder and press Cmd+I. in the file info panel you’ll see that this particular file is opened by whatever app you chose for it by default. Now, there’s a self explanatory “Open with” section there, that lets you “Use that app to open all docs like that one” (meaning, all CSV files in your case).

The catch here is to choose exactly the app you want to open youb CSVs with. Hence, not choosing an app in “Always With” menu, but navigating to the exact instance of the app

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