Reading a CSV file with any programming language is very useful, but it can be tricky. So how do you read a CSV file into C sharp? And what is a CSV file anyway?
Here’s a breakdown of what it does and how you can load it.
What Is a CSV File?
CSV is short for Comma Separated Value, which is a particular type of file. They are sometimes also called Comma Delimited or Character Separated Values. All of the data is separated by commas, making it easier for a program to identify data.
An example would be separating the names of people in a group by commas. The file might read as:
And a program would know to separate them by their commas.
These files are often useful for programming and analyzing data, and the relative simplicity is intentional. A human can still read something in CSV file format (or load it into a text editor or spreadsheet to make it easier,) and a computer won’t struggle to get the data.
Although CSVs look similar to other files, the key difference is typically that most formatting is removed. This allows the data to be read without “hidden” background code confusing things.
Various Ways to Read CSVs Into C#
Now to the key, which is how to open a CSV file in C#. There are several ways you can read a CSV file with C#. Typically, the steps will be mostly the same, but the big difference is which package you install.
There are a lot of packages in C# read CSV files. The specific code will vary, but typically you will need to specify the file format you’re reading in, and perhaps what type of delimiter you have.
For example, let’s assume we use the IronXL library. Once the package has been downloaded, you add your code to read your specific CSV, specifying the file format and delimiter type. From there, it opens a worksheet that you can view!
Other methods will work similarly, some requiring you to specify what type of file format you have, and some only built for CSV files. Once you have read your file, you should be able to open the file in Excel or some other spreadsheet program. And C# isn’t the only programming language able to read these files; you can use languages like R or Python to read a CSV file
It’s important to note, some packages will automatically read the top line of a CSV as a header. If your CSV doesn’t have headers, you may either have to add a line or tell C# not to read the line as a header. Conversely, you may have to specify that it should read the header if it doesn’t automatically do that.
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