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Loading a CSV with custom separator in Tableau

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When I exported my CSV in R, its values were split on a semicolon. I, a Tableau rookie, wanted to import that file. I’ve bumped into several BI tools that didn’t have an options to specify a custom separator, but for a robust tool like Tableau, that seemed unbelievable.

Depending on where you’re living, CSV files will have a different separator by default. In my situation, I wanted to load a CSV file with a semicolon as a separator. But you’ll run into the same issues if your separator is a tab, pipe or any other character.

When loading the file into Tableau, it was split on a space. Not exactly what I expected. I spent quite a lot of time finding how I could specify my own split character, until I clicked on the little downward-facing arrow, next to the filename of my CSV data source.

Apparent, when you click that arrow, you can access the Text File Properties menu, which gives you the option to change the Field separator, but also the character encoding and the locale.

I short blog post, but I hope I saved you some time!

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