Do not double-click or open a CSV file directly from an email or folder.  If you do, Excel (or another spreadsheet program) will convert automatically the census block or census tract codes to numbers instead of text.

Below are instructions for how to open a CSV file in Excel so that you don’t lose the TEXT formatting.

  • Open Excel
  • Click New, then click on Blank workbook
  • Click on the Data tab
  • Click Get External Data From Text
  • Navigate to the CSV-formatted file saved on your system, select it, then click Import (When browsing to find the file, set browser to look for All Files or for Text Files)
  • This will open the Text Import Wizard
  • In Import Step 1 of 3 – Click on Delimited, then click Next
  • In Import Step 2 of 3 – Check the Comma box, then click Next
  • In Import Step 3 of 3 – Select Text and click Finish, then OK

This procedure should retain the census block or tract codes in column A in TEXT format. If the census codes have been changed to scientific notation (a number such as 5.51E+14), then you have lost the TEXT formatting and even if you save the Excel file back in CSV format, it will not be accepted by the Form 477 filing interface.

You can also open a CSV file in text reader program like Notepad to view and edit the file without losing the TEXT format.

Thursday, September 25, 2014