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Dealing with Special Characters in Excel Report Downloads

The reporting system in Event Wizard® is very powerful and feature-rich. Not only does it give you a full overview of your event’s progress, it also allows you to manage your registrants in just about every way imaginable. One particularly useful reporting feature is the Excel download function, which allows you to download an Excel-compatible file containing the report of your choice.

However, some reports contain names that use special characters, (like accented letters, for example) and depending on what spreadsheet software you’re using, it may not be able to read them properly. There are a couple different ways you can deal with this issue:

Method 1 – Convert and Import into Excel

If you’re using Excel to open your .csv file, there’s a tried and tested way of preserving special characters:

  1. Open Excel to a new document
  2. Click the Data menu at the top, then select Get External Data > From Text, (or Import Text File…, depending on your version)
  3. Ensure All Files are selectable and choose your downloaded .csv report file
  4. In the window that opens, choose Delimited for your data type, and UTF-8 as your file origin – click Next
  5. Finally, choose Comma as your delimiter and click Finish.

If you’re on a Mac, the above method may require an extra step in order to make it work properly:

  1. Before opening Excel, open your .csv file in TextEdit
  2. Click File > Duplicate, then File > Save to save as .TXT file, but be sure to select UTF-16 from the Plain Text Encoding dropdown in the Save dialog
  3. Follow the same steps as the PC instructions above, but instead of using your .csv and UTF-8, (in step 3) choose your new .txt file and Macintosh as your File Origin.

Regardless of whether you’re on a Mac or PC, the import window in Excel provides a preview of what your data will look like once imported. If for some reason the above steps don’t work for you and you’re still getting strange looking characters in your preview, try different encoding/file origin types until you find the one that works for your setup.

Method 2 – Open in Google Sheets

This method is a bit easier than above and works on all platforms, since it’s done through your web browser. It also doesn’t require you to have Excel on your computer, so there are no software costs:

  1. Go to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/ and sign into your Google account
    (NOTE: if you don’t have a Google account, it’s quick and free to create one through the link above)
  2. Create a new spreadsheet
  3. Click File > Import
  4. Click the Upload tab and select your downloaded .csv file
  5. Select Replace spreadsheet as your Import action, Comma as your Separator character, and then Import

You can then use your new spreadsheet as is, or you can download in a variety of file types by clicking File > Download as.

Hopefully one of these methods will help you deal with special characters in your report downloads. As always, if you have any questions about this or anything else in Event Wizard®, please drop us a line.


Posted on November 4, 2016 by Mike Schumann
Category : Event Wizard® & Event Wizard® Tips
Tagged : ,, , , , ,