How to Choose CSV or XLS when Extracting Attribute Data?

The CAD Block attribute data that is extracted to a table can be exported to an external file. On the Choose Output page, select the Output Data to an External File option. You can export the data to the following file formats:

  • Microsoft Excel (XLS)
  • Comma-Separated (CSV) 
  • Tab-Separated (TXT) 

What is XLS?

XLS is a former version of the file extension for a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that uses a proprietary binary format. 


What is CSV?

A CSV file is a file format used for storing data in a tabular format. CSV stands for comma-separated values, which means that the values in the file are separated by commas.

CSV opened via text editor

A CSV file is a plain text file that can be opened with any text editor or even a spreadsheet software such as Excel.

Each line in a CSV file represents a row, and each comma-separated value represents a column. CSV files are widely used for data exchange between different software applications and databases.

What is the difference between CSV and XLS?

The difference between XLS and CSV is that an XLS file contains data in a workbook and spreadsheet, while a CSV file can only store the data in text format. It automatically removes all the formats and formulas. 

How to choose between CSV and XLS?

When it comes to choosing between CSV and XLS, there are a few things that you should consider.

One of the main advantages of CSV files is that they are simple. CSV files are just text files with values separated by commas. This means they can be opened and edited in any text editor.

XLS file is more complex and offer a wider range of features. XLS file can handle more complex data, including formulas, charts, and more.

When deciding between CSV and XLS, it’s important to consider the complexity of your data and the features that you need.

Reasons to Use a CSV File

  1. Portability: CSV files are lightweight and can be easily transferred between different platforms and applications, making them an ideal choice for sharing data.
  2. Compatibility: CSV files can be opened and edited by a wide range of programs, including Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and many others.
  3. Structured data: CSV files allow you to store data in a structured format, with each row representing a single record and each comma representing a field or attribute.
  4. Easy to read and edit: CSV files are easy to read and edit, even for non-technical users, since they are simply text files containing data separated by commas.
  5. Large data sets: CSV files are ideal for handling large data sets since they are efficient and fast to load and process.
  6. Automation: CSV files can be easily generated and processed using scripting languages like Python, making them a popular choice for automating data processing tasks.
  7. Standardization: CSV files are a widely accepted standard for exchanging data between different systems and applications, making them a reliable choice for data integration.

Reasons to Use a XSL File

  1. Data analysis and visualization: Excel offers a wide range of tools for analyzing and visualizing data, including formulas, charts, and pivot tables, making it ideal for data-driven decision-making.
  2. Organizing and managing data: Excel provides a flexible and customizable way to organize and manage data, including sorting, filtering, and searching, as well as the ability to create multiple sheets within a single workbook.
  3. Collaboration: Excel allows multiple users to work on the same file simultaneously, making it easy to collaborate on projects and share data with others.
  4. Automation: Excel can be used to automate repetitive tasks using either VBA or Office Scripts.
  5. Integration: Excel can be integrated with a wide range of other software applications, including databases, accounting software, and ERP systems.
  6. Accessibility: Excel is widely used and supported, making it easy to find resources and support for learning and using the software.

XLS is a versatile and widely used tool for managing and analyzing data.

If you only need to store a single tabular dataset and don’t need any advanced features, then CSV might be the better choice.

Otherwise, if you need to perform calculations, create charts, or work with multiple datasets, then XLS might be the better option.

How do you convert XLS to CSV? 

  1. Open the Excel workbook.
  2. Switch on the File tab and click on Save as.
  3. You can also press f12 to reach the Save as dialog.
  4. In the Save As type box, choose to save the XLS file as CSV (Comma delimited) option. 
  5. Other CSV options are also available. You can check them too. 
  6. Choose a folder to store your file. 
  7. Simply click OK and Yes to the dialog displaying on the screen. 

What are the differences between XLS and XLSX? 

XLS and XLSX are two file extensions that are used by the very popular spreadsheet application from Microsoft named Microsoft Excel. XLS is very popular as it has been the default format for Microsoft Excel since it was first created up till 2003. In the Microsoft Office 2007 release, Microsoft decided to change the default file format to a different format and adding and additional x for all their document extensions; for Excel, this ended up as XLSX.

  • Excel XLS vs. XLSX has a basic difference in their existence; XLS is the default version of Microsoft Excel 2003, and XLSX is the file format of Excel since 2007. 
  • XLS is readable by all Microsoft Excel versions, but XLSX is readable only by Microsoft Excel 2007 and onwards.  
  • XLS vs. XLSX file storage system says that XLS information is saved directly to a binary format, whereas the XLSX file is stored in a text file. 
  • XLS can save the file that contains macros. On the contrary, XLSX can not support macros. 
  • There is also a difference between XLS and XLSM. Where both are file formats only, XLSM contains macros that XLSX doesn’t.  
  • The difference between XLS and XLSX and CSV can be understood as XLS and XLSX being Excel file formats featuring tables, graphics, formulas, etc., whereas CSV can save the file in text format only. 
  • XLS files are larger than XLSX files. 
  • XLS is a proprietary binary format, whereas XLSX is based on Microsoft Office Open XML format. 
  • In the files that require the use of complex formulas with big sets of data, XLS works faster than XLSX. 
  • XLSX can hold data in large quantities, but XLS can store fewer data. 
  • XLSX has more rows and columns capacity than XLS

What is the difference between XLS and XLSX in terms of the row/column limit? 

XLSX file format’s capability to compress the data and reduce the size of a file makes a big difference between XLS and XLSX.

The row limit in XLS workbook is 65,536 (2¹⁶), and in XLSX, it increases up to 1,048,576 rows (2²⁰).

The column limit for XLS and XLSX is 256 columns (2⁸) and 16,384 columns (2¹⁴), respectively.  

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