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Formatting exported data

Using our download feature you can export the following from TolaData:  

  • project activity plans
  • summaries of all project approvals and their status
  • indicator plans with the latest results versus targets
  • details of all collected data results for an individual indicator
  • datasets from the datatables section

All downloads are to your local drive as a CSV file. You can download from the relevant section by clicking the download icon. 

What is a CSV file?

A CSV file stands for a Comma Separated Values file. This is a plain text file that contains a list of data.

Opening a CSV File 

You can open your CSV file in Excel to view your exported data. If you are viewing your CSV file in Excel you may need to ensure it is formatted correctly. 

When you first open your data set in excel you may find that the formatting is incorrect. This could be due to  special characters in the data or if you have used European number formatting. 

  • In this data set, the special characters are not being displayed. Instead, the german umlaut ‘ä’ and ‘ü’ is replaced with the symbols ‘ä’ and ‘ü’.
  • The date is not displayed, however this can be fixed by expanding the column. 

Reading Special Characters

In order for excel to read the special characters in your CSV file you will need to correct the file origin. To do this, select the ‘Data’ tab and navigate to ‘Form Text/CSV’.

A pop up will appear requesting you to select a file. Select the file which you have exported from TolaData and click ‘import’. After doing so the formatting preview will appear.

To display the special characters correctly you must change the formatting of the ‘File Origin’. Select the File Origin drop down and from the list select  ‘Unicode (UTF-8)’.  

The columns containing special characters will then become readable. 

Number Formatting 

If you have used European number formatting in TolaData (ie. with periods as ‘000 separators and commas for decimals), you may need to tell excel not to reformat your CSV file. This can be done in the ‘Data Type Detection’ tab by selecting ‘Do not detect data types’ from the drop down menu. 

After ensuring the exported data set is accurate, select load. You will then be brought back to your excel sheet which will display the data set in the new formatting.  

You may then have to replace “.” by “,” as decimal separators. This could be done by applying a search and replace operation on the respective columns.

Opening Exported CSV files on Excel Using Mac

If you have exported your CSV file from TolaData on a Mac you might discover that the CSV file is not displayed correctly in Excel. This may occur  because sometimes on a Mac the CSV file is first opened in Excel and then saved as a CSV. This can cause issues if the data set has commas within some text strings (which are exported encapsulated in quotation marks).

To solve this issue users with a Mac should:

  1. Select the download icon in TolaData. 
  2. Instead of opening the file directly in excel, the user should save the file as a raw CSV file onto their drive. 
  3. Import the raw CSV file into Excel. 

This process should ensure that Excel reads your TolaData exported CSV file correctly and interprets special characters. 

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