CSV (Comma Separated Values) is a simple file format for general data interchange. It can be used in the toolkit for simple data interchange, and can be edited with most spreadsheet programs. There is no formal specification for the CSV file format, but more information can be acquired from Comma-Separated Values


CSV files were initially used to convert from and to po files, and therefore contained three columns as follows:

Column Description
location A column with the location of the original msgid (in other words, a line in a programming source file, as indicated in the #: comments of PO files).
source The source text (or msgid)
target The target text (or msgstr)

Tabs and newlines are maintained, although it is not clear how easy it is to edit these things in a spreadsheet.

Quoting is a problem, because the different spreadsheet programs handle these things differently. Notably, Microsoft’s excel handles single quotes slightly differently. In future, it might be worthwhile to handle excel CSV as a different format from other CSV files. An entry like ‘mono’ is ambiguous as it is not sure whether this refers simply to the word mono or to the entry ‘mono’ quoted with single quotes. (Example from Audacity pot file)