Why do I have a problem opening up my CSV file in Microsoft Excel? When it opens up I see ???? where there should be words.

FormReturn saves all CSV files in UTF-8 format. Excel, isn't able to read UTF-8 encoded CSV files without running the data import wizard first. This problem only occurs for non-ASCII characters (such as some accented characters or non-roman characters).

This is the correct way to open a UTF-8 encoded CSV file in Microsoft Excel:

  1. Click the Data tab, then click "From text".

  2. Select your CSV file.

  3. In the first screen of the Wizard, select delimited and then select File Origin as "Unicode (UTF-8)".

  4. The second Wizard screen is the delimiter screen, select either Comma or Tab (depending on how you exported the data from FormReturn). Comma is the default export method in FormReturn.

  5. Go to the next screen if you wish, or click finish to continue with the import.

Excel normally won't read UTF-8 by default because it will try to read the file using your language's default encoding - eg, if you are from Taiwan, excel will try to open your CSV files in Big5 format.