CSV vs Excel

Difference Between CSV and Excel

CSV and Excel or xls are two different types of file extensions which both contain data in them, the difference between the both is that in CSV or comma-separated values the data is in text format separated by commas while in excel or Xls data is in tabular format or we say in rows and columns and in CSV file extension there is no formatting in data whereas in excel we can format the data as per our requirement.

CSV and Excel are two formats that are developed for storing the data in the database and which will help the business organization to carry out their business.

What is CSV (Comma Separated Value)?

CSV is a format of a text file in which commas are used to separate values, and accordingly, whole data will be stored. CSV data can be easily opened in various kinds of text editor like notepad and can be analyzed for fetching and mining the needed details.

CSV File in Notepad

CSV File

You are free to use this image on your website, templates etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: CSV vs Excel (wallstreetmojo.com)

What is Excel?

In the current era, any corporate professional can hardly sustain without excel, as excel allows them to do the data storage, processing, analyzing, and exporting in the required manner. It is a highly structured and organized file format, which specifically developed for the tabular data and to correlate the details from the various independent tables.

Excel data in Microsoft Excel


CSV vs Excel Infographics

You are free to use this image on your website, templates etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: CSV vs Excel (wallstreetmojo.com)

Key Differences Between CSV and Excel

The key differences are as follows –

  • The full form of CSV is a comma-separated value, and MS Excel is Microsoft Excel.
  • Extension of CSV file is “.csv” while extension of excel file is “.xls/ .xlsx”.
  • In CSV file, as all the data is needed to be saved in plain text format, Image related (JPEG, PNG, JPG, etc.) data is not possible to save. While Excel is a binary format, hence all the Image related data can be easily saved in excel format.
  • CSV is a plain text file, and hence, it is a common file without any standardization or structuring. While Excel is highly standardized and structured by keeping in mind the requirements of the present corporate world.
  • CSV files can be open in any kind of text editor like notepad as well as in MS Excel, too, while excel can be opened only in the MS Excel or google sheetsMS Excel Or Google SheetsIn Google Sheets, we may share a link with other users to permit them to read or edit the sheet at the same time, however in Excel, only one person can edit the file at a time.read more.
  • CSV file is a plain text file, so all the data will be stored by using a comma as a separator between two units of data; hence charts are not possible to store in the CSV format While, excel saves the data in binary form; therefore all the data related to charts can be saved in excel format.
  • CSV files cannot be directly linked with the external sources, while an excel file can be easily integrated with external sources in such a manner that input can come from external sources, and the data extraction can also be directly linked to the external sources.
  • Data analysis and manipulation can be done effectively and in a structured way in Excel, while the same cannot be done in the CSV format as the data in such format cannot be linked with any other data.
  • It is very much easy to store CSV files as its size will always be smaller, while Excel files with an extensive database are very much tough to store and to maintain, as there is a high chance of getting corrupt or crash.
  • CSV files are majority used by professionals in data analysis or visualizations while Excel is getting used by laymen as well as by professionals based on their requirement and purpose of work.

Comparative Table

BasisCSVMS Excel
Full FormThe full form of CSV is  Comma separated value.The full form of  MS Excel is Microsoft Excel.
ExtensionCSV file having extension denoted as .csvExcel file having extension denoted as .xls/.xlsx
Launched inCSV format released in 2005MS Excel released in 1987
Saving Table DataAs CSV saves the data in plain text format, it is not possible to save Image related data.As excel saves the data in binary file format, Image data can be easily stored in the same.
StandardizationCSV is just the plain text file; hence it is not standardized.Excel is Highly standardized with respect to data storage and related workings.
KindCSV is a format in which data is storedMS Excel is a tool in which data is getting stored, and data analysis can be carried out.
PlatformCSV files can be opened in various kinds of text editors as well as in excel.Excel files can be opened only in MS excel only.
Charts and ImagesAs it saves data in plain text format, it cannot save data like the chart.MS Excel can easily save data like charts.
Linkage with external sourcesFor CSV files, it’s not possible of any linkage with external data and data updating.MS Excel files can be connected with the external data sources, and add-ins can be enabled.
ManipulationCSV files do not allow any kind of data manipulationMS Excel allows all kind of data manipulation and related data analysis.
StorageCSV file requires less storage and can be stored in a low memory space alsoExcel file requires more storage and high memory space.
UsageMajor use in data analysis and visualization.Excel can be used from day to day operations until complex organizational decision making.
Used ByThe majority, by professionals.Used by the layman as well as professionals, based on their requirement.


CSV and Excel are peculiar formats for storing the data and are used by various persons in a vast number. Both have their own plus points and negative ones. But both can be judiciously used presently for data uploading, data visualizations, data analysis, and manipulation.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to the CSV vs Excel. Here we discuss the top differences between CSV and Excel along with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles –

  • 35+ Courses
  • 120+ Hours
  • Full Lifetime Access
  • Certificate of Completion

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *