Do you know what are CSV files and how to open large CSV files? If your answer is No, then here we will explore the things in the right manner to you so that you get familiar with everything associated with CSV files.

Let's proceed with the basic concepts so that it becomes easy for you to understand everything precisely the time we will get little more in-depth with the CSV files.

What is CSV File?

CSV file stands for "Comma Separated Values"  that helps to save data in a table structure format. These files contain letters and numbers only, or in other words, plain texts only. The primary motive of using CSV files is to exchange data between two applications, especially when the size of data is enormous. Analytical and database programmes or any other application, that store substantial data sets like contact information and customer details, support CSV files.

Sometimes, CSV files also stand for Comma Delicate or character separated files. However, the purpose and meaning remain same for CSV files.

The Structure Of CSV Files

CSV files have the simple structure. As the definition of CSV already elaborates, its a data list separated with a comma.
Let me explain the structure of CSV files more appropriately. Suppose you have some contacts and you exported them as .CSV files. The text structure will be something like this:

Structure of CSV file

That's how the structure of CSV files look like. However, it's not necessary that every CSV file will follow exactly similar structure, there can be more complicated structure depending upon the data stored in CSV file. The line can have more entries or long text strings. Also, there may be no headers at the top or in some CSV files you may find each bite of data surrounded by quotations.

This simplicity is the unique and excellent feature of the CSV files. CSV files are the best and easiest way to export and import data to the target programmes. The result is easy to read and can be accessed using any text editor like spreadsheet and notepad.

How To Open Large CSV Files

If the size of .CSV file is small; you can view its content in notepad by using simply "Edit" command. However, if the size of data is large, notepad and other basic text editor tool will not be able to open the file. To overcome this hassle, here we are with a lesser known tool that can help you to deal with .CSV files quickly and conveniently.  

Follow the steps as we mentioned below, and you will be able open the large .CSV  files. Let's go…

The application or tool that we will use to open large file is called "The Gun text editor". It's an efficient tool that can help you to open large.CSV files easily.

Here is the detail of target .CSV file that we will open.

Target file details

Firstly, we tried to open this file with Microsoft Excel, and the result is below:

Trying to open with MS Excel
Then we decided to open this file with notepad and result is attached below.

Trying to open with Notepad

As you can see, none of the basic approaches works to open the large CSV files and thus an advanced approach is needed to proceed with the motive.

Then finally we move to the application/tool " The Gun" and it was a successful attempt. Here is the step by step process to proceed with "The Gun" and open large .CSV files.

Step 1

Search on google for "The Gun Text editor". Download and install it from any legal source. It's a free tool with simple UI and features to avoid the complexities.

The gun tool 
Step 2

Now click on " File" tab available there on leftmost top corner. There you will get the option "open". Click on it, and you will be able to select the target large .CSV file that you want to open. Remember the directory or location where you have stored the target file. Visit that disk, drive or desktop and select the file. Here I have saved the target file on the desktop so i will be picking the target .CSV file right from there.

Selecting target file

Step 3

Select the target file and click " open" available there at the bottom as you can see in the image.

Open target file

Step 4

Now here you may have to wait for around one or two minutes. As you know that the file is large. Thus the tool will take some time to analyze all its data and show the content to you. Sit back and relax, within no time the content of .CSV file will appear on your screen.


Step 5

Right after the wait time the data or content of the respective file will appear on the screen, and you will be able to analyze and read all the information stored in that file.

File open
Now if you want to perform further actions with the stored data. Follow the below steps

Step 6

There is "Edit" option available there at left most corner beside "open". Click on that, and you will be able to copy or cut that data to paste somewhere else. There you will be able to delete the data as well. There are so many other advance option available that you can use if needed.

Extra options

That's it, you have successfully explored the large .CSV file and you can modify its content/data as well.

Open Large CSV using Powershell

You can also open large CSV files using Windows Powershell using below commands, here are some of the command with explanation in comments

# Print the first 100 lines of big_file.csv:
Get-Content -First 100 'C:\Users\vks\Desktop\big_file.csv'

# Print the last 100 lines of big_file.csv
Get-Content -Last 100 'C:\Users\vks\Desktop\big_file.csv'

# Print lines that contain the word "Big"
Get-Content 'C:\Users\vks\Desktop\big_file.csv' | Select-String "Big"

# Get the first 100 lines of big_file.csv and write them to a new file, sample.csv
Get-Content -First 100 'C:\Users\vks\Desktop\big_file.csv' | Out-File 'C:\Users\vks\Desktop\sample.csv'

# Count the number of lines in big_file.csv (3 separate commands)
# Note that we tell the PowerShell to count in chunks of 2,000 rows
$count = 0
Get-Content '.\big_file.csv' -ReadCount 2000 | foreach { $Count += $_.count }


That's what actually .CSV files are and how you can open large .CSV file easily and quickly. As we have mentioned above in the example, you can follow the same steps to open any .CSV file. There is no complex or technically advanced procedure to open large .CSV files. You need only soft computer skills and a free hand to explore.CSV files. Hope you like the content and it really helps you to open large .CSV files. Keep following us stay updated with technical stuff and to get cool tips and tricks.

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