Is there any way to do this? I need to use a pipe "|" as my delimiter. On Windows you can change this during the export. On Mac I haven't found a way. As a side note, my files have commas in the data itself.

4 Answers 4


If you're willing to move away from Excel, you could try using OpenOffice or LibreOffice to create .csv files. They're both free, they both have most of the functionality included in Excel, and they both allow tabulated data to be saved as a .csv file using any character as a data separator or text delimiter (including the pipe, of course).


Well, wouldn't you know it, I don't need this functionality anyhow. Excel is smart enough to detect cells that have commas in them, and in this case, it will automatically delimit the text with surrounding double quotes. I wasn't giving Excel any credit!


All well and good, but don't try to use low level text file manipulation utilities on the files that you create (ie *IX programs like awk). They won't be able to distinguish commas inside quotes from those without. Pipe delimiters are better as they clash less frequently with normal everyday usage (eg commas in addresses, or as separators in numbers).


I typically use TextEdit to do something like this. Open the source data in TextEdit and go to Edit > Find > Find & Replace. Then replace | with ,, replacing all instances. Save the file using an extension of .csv and you are now good to import into Numbers or Excel.

  • This won't work for me. Some columns have commas in them that need to be preserved - ultimately this being the reason why I need another delimiter.
    – xanadont
    Commented May 21, 2013 at 18:00

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