File Formats that Include Field Formats

Wolfgang often imports CSV files that are created by other programs. When importing, he needs to specify how Excel should treat the incoming data. This causes Wolfgang to wonder if there is a file format that Excel can import that has field formats embedded so that he doesn’t have to do any manual work on import.

The short answer is no, there isn’t such a format. Technically you can create an XML-formatted file that uses the format of Office, and it can specify what the field formats should be. Such a file consists of only text (like a traditional CSV file) and includes specifiers about how the data should be formatted. (Complete details on how such an XML file should be structured is beyond the scope of this tip.)

Such an endeavor is undeniably daunting to many people, so you could also simply import your CSV file with no formatting applied, and then use the macro recorder to record how you manually format the freshly imported data. This macro could then be executed every time you import another file that uses the same sort of data as the first CSV file you imported.