Create a CSV data file

Video tutorial: Convert data files to CSV format

CSV (Comma Separated Values) is the preferred format for most data in the Ag Data Commons. Not only is a dataset more versatile as a CSV, but viewers can take advantage of built-in features like data visualizations and previews with CSV data files.

  • If your database can output data as CSV, opt for that choice to create your data file.

  • If you have an Excel spreadsheet and want to convert it to CSV, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure there is a single column header row to label your variables. If your current data has more than one header row, consider combining these into one row in a way that makes sense.

  2. Combine your data onto a single spreadsheet page. Delete any additional pages by right-clicking the blank pages at the bottom of your spreadsheet and choosing "Delete". Note that one multi-tab spreadsheet might become several CSV files.

  3. In order to use the built-in chart previews, remove any special characters from your column header rows. Some characters in the column headers prevent the embed / link features from working with charts and graphs in the Ag Data Commons. This step is not necessary to create a CSV, but is necessary to use the Embed feature for sharing your data visualizations created in the Ag Data Commons. This is a list of incompatible and acceptable special characters.

Characters that should NOT be used in column headers for full compatibility with built-in data visualizations:

CharacterDescriptionCharacterDescription
`accent!exclamation point
@"at" symbol#number / hashtag symbol
$dollar symbol%percent symbol
^caret &"and" symbol
*asterisk( )parenthesis
< >greater / less than symbols?question mark
[ ]brackets{ }brackets
|pipe\back slash
'apostrophe~tilde

Acceptable characters to use in column headers for full compatibility with built-in data visualizations:

CharacterDescriptionCharacterDescription
/forward slash.period
"double quotes

  1. Remove any commas from your document. Because the delimiter is a comma, extra commas in your text can cause errors in interpreting the data.

  2. Save your document - choose "Save as: CSV (Comma delimited)

  3. Upload this document as a data resource on the Ag Data Commons, and check Grid, Graph, and Embed to take advantage of the full functionality of the Ag Data Commons data previews.

(Please note, data is not required to be in CSV format, but is highly recommended if compatible with your data)