How to open .TSV files in Windows

TSV files are not very common, but they can be opened with many common programs. Find out how it works here.

TSV stands for “Tab Separated Values”, so it is a list of values separated by a tab character.
If you are reminded of a CSV file here, you are definitely not wrong. TSV and the more common CSV format are very similar. CSV stands for “Comma Separated Values”, the data is not separated with tabs, but with semicolons.

Opening .TSV-files in Windows

The fastest way to look into .TSV files is by opening them with Notepad

There are many common applications you can open TSV files with. Most programs that can display CSV files should have no problem with TSV files either.

Excel offers many options for data processing. So it will make sense for most users to open the files in this program. We will explain how this works in the next section. Alternatively, you can open .TSV files in LibreOffice Calc (the open source counterpart to Excel).

However, the Notepad offers the fastest way to view the contents of a .TSV file.
To do this, right-click on the file and then click “Open with“. Select Notepad here. Now you can see the raw data from the file and decide what you want to do with it.
Most applications similar to Notepad will also support opening TSV files.


Import TSV-files into Excel

For most purposes it is probably useful to import the .TSV file into Excel.

1. Open a blank workbook (or create another spreadsheet) in Excel.

2. Click on the “Data” tab at the top and select “Get Data” here. Then click on “From File” and then on “From Workbook” – as shown in the screenshot.

3. Now an explorer window opens where you can open the required file. To see all file types, you have to change the file type to “All files” in the lower right corner of this window.
Then select the desired file and click on “Import“.

4. Now the query editor is opened. Here you can customize the data before importing it into your workbook. For example, you can adjust the column labels, filter out duplicate data or adjust cell formats.

5. When you are satisfied with your data, click “Load” in the bottom right corner. Now the data will be inserted into your workbook as configured in the query editor.

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