Difference Between Excel and CSV

Excel and CSV are two data securing services that enable it to organize it into the tabular form. Generally, such software is used to enter accounting, reporting, contracting purposes.

The tabular form allows giving a clear and simple calculating offer to its users. Even though, both the software might sound the same thing, at the same time, there are many distinct differences between them.

Excel vs CSV

The main difference between Excel and CSV is its operating systems. Excel can only be opened through a particular platform and that is the Microsoft Excel doc, while on the other hand, various operating systems such as MS Excel, NotePad, MS Works 9, etc can be used to access through the CSV files.

Excel and CSV

The spreadsheet that has been created to set the numerical data in an organized manner by the Microsoft Corporation is known as Excel or Microsoft Excel. It is generally associated with mathematical or statistical data.

On the other hand, CSV is the abbreviation for the terms Comma Separate Values.

Therefore, by the full form of the abbreviation itself, we can clearly say that it is a spreadsheet wherein the users can use commas (,) to separate the values while writing. And, this is the main feature of CSV.

Comparison Table Between Excel and CSV

Parameters of ComparisonExcel CSV
MemoryThe Excel files cover comparatively more memory. Only a minimal space is authorized by CSV.
ExtensionsGenerally, it has been noticed that the Excel files are saved as .xls/.xlsx..csv. is the file extension for CSV.
Speed Excel has a slower type of file format. The speed of CSV format is quite faster.
Introduction YearIn 1987, Excel was first introduced to the market. CSV has been introduced a few years ago, in October 2005.
FormatExcel represents a binary file format. CSV does not allow to secure the data in the charts.

What is Excel?

We all are aware of the term Excel, and for those people who came across the term recently, we can state that excel is a tabular spreadsheet that is mostly used for calculating and accounting purposes.

In Excel spreadsheets, the mathematical and statistical data becomes easier to calculate. The file extensions for the excel sheets are represented as .xls./ .xlsx.

Therefore we can identify the excel files by these extensions. But, these sheets consume a larger amount of space in the devices.

Also, it takes time to set the data on the Excel spreadsheet, as the users need to be attended to while putting the values in the correct rows and columns.

Excel is the software that was released by the Microsoft Corporation in the year 1987. And, since then it is considered to be one of the most useful software by Microsoft.

Excel accepts external data as well and hence helps to work in a wider range. The data can even be stored in the form of charts.

It is not only used for professional works but unprofessional accounting works as well. Therefore, it is a great way to keep the data in a systematic format.

The MS Excel doc is the only platform that can be used to operate Excel. Also, one can insert not only text but also charts, pictures, graphs, etc. The users can easily study the given data on the sheets, even if they are larger files.

The reason behind this is that the data is divided into rows and columns.

What is CSV?

CSV is the abbreviation for a spreadsheet which is known for the writing and editing of the values and therefore CSV stands for Comma Separated Values.

Here, by the full form, we can already make out its exact meaning and that is it is a spreadsheet where the values are separated by using commas.

The only exception of this spreadsheet is that it only accepts text data and no other charts, pictures, etc can be used. CSV came into force in October 2005.

Initially, after operating it we can notice that it is in a plain text format and the major advantage of CSV is that it can be operated by using software such as MS Excel, NotePad, MS Works 9, etc.

Also, it does not support any sort of external data with it. Generally, CSV is used for accomplishing professional jobs.

The only drawback that affects extensively to its users is that when the CSV files become larger, the users find it difficult to read it and this is because it is only separated using commas.

The CSV files are represented by using the extension as .csv. Also, it is mostly used for professional works because it comes with great speed capacity and hence it saves a lot of time.

Even the files consume lesser space, making them convenient to use.

Main Differences Between Excel and CSV

  1. A greater space is required for an Excel File while on the other hand, CSV files use less space.
  2. We can identify an excel file if the extensions such as .xls/.xlsx. are present in it while on the other hand, CSV uses .csv. as its file extension.
  3. Excel takes a long time to process while on the other hand, CSV does not take time.
  4. Excel was established around the year 1987 while on the other hand, in 2005, CSV was put forward to the market.
  5. The binary file format has been identified in Excel while on the other hand, CSV can be said as a plain-text format.


Excel and CSV are some of the software that is widely used in both, every day as well as in some specific platforms as well.

The one major difference that makes them unique from each other is the sheets, where we can notice that Excel sheets are tabular while the CSV sheets are not tabular and the values are separated using commas.

The operating systems of each file also differ from each other. One can choose the software according to their specific platforms.


  1. https://academic.oup.com/bib/article-abstract/15/5/788/2422275
  2. https://arxiv.org/abs/2104.13600
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