How to Save Google Sheets to CSV: A Step-by-Step Guide

Saving a Google Sheets document to CSV is a straightforward process. Simply open the file in Google Sheets, go to the File menu, select ‘Download’, and then choose ‘Comma-separated values (.csv, current sheet)’. This will download a CSV file of your spreadsheet to your computer.

After you’ve saved your Google Sheets document as a CSV file, it can be opened and edited in any text editor or spreadsheet program that supports this format, such as Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice Calc.


Google Sheets is a powerful and versatile tool that allows you to create, edit, and share spreadsheets online. One of the many features of Google Sheets is the ability to save or download your data in various formats, including CSV (Comma-Separated Values). CSV files are widely used because they’re simple, easy to read, and can be imported into many different types of software. This feature is particularly important for those who need to share data with others who may not have access to Google Sheets or for those who need to upload data to other applications that require a CSV format.

So why is knowing how to save a Google Sheets document as a CSV so crucial? Well, it can be a real lifesaver when it comes to data portability. Whether you’re a student who needs to submit data for a project, a small business owner keeping track of inventory, or an analyst sharing data with a team, being able to convert your Google Sheets into a CSV file opens up a world of possibilities. Plus, it’s a skill that’s fast, easy, and can be completed in just a few clicks. Let’s dive in and learn how to do it.

Related: How to Make a Header Row in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Save Google Sheets to CSV

Before we begin, make sure you’re logged into your Google account and have the Google Sheets document open that you want to save as a CSV file.

Step 1: Go to the File Menu

Click on ‘File’ in the top left corner of your Google Sheets document.

The File menu is where you’ll find all the options for saving and downloading your document. It’s the gateway to ensuring your data is portable and accessible in the format you need.

Step 2: Select ‘Download’

Hover over the ‘Download’ option in the drop-down menu that appears.

This will show you a list of different formats you can download your document in. Selecting the right format is key to ensuring your data is usable in the software or application you plan to use it in next.

Step 3: Choose ‘CSV’

From the sub-menu, click on ‘Comma-separated values (.csv, current sheet)’.

This action will prompt Google Sheets to convert your document into a CSV file and download it to your computer. Remember, CSV files will only include the data from the current sheet you’re viewing, not the entire workbook.


Easy to ShareCSV files are universally accepted and easy to share with anyone, no matter what software they are using.
Small File SizeCSV files are plain text and tend to be smaller in size compared to other formats, making them easy to transfer and store.
CompatibilityCSV is a widely supported format, compatible with a variety of applications, software, and programming languages.

CSV files are perfect for when you need to share data with someone who doesn’t have access to Google Sheets. Since they’re plain text files, they can be opened pretty much anywhere, by anyone. This eliminates the hassle of compatibility issues.

Since CSV files are stripped of formatting, formulas, and other features that bulk up file sizes, they are typically much smaller and therefore quicker to send and download. This makes them ideal for emailing or uploading to websites.

The compatibility of CSV files also extends to their usefulness in programming and software development. They can be easily imported into databases, used in programming environments, or even read by custom scripts, making them a versatile format for a wide range of technical applications.


Limited FormattingCSV files do not retain any formatting from Google Sheets, so any colors, fonts, or cell styles will be lost.
No FormulasCSV files only save the data, not the formulas or functions that may be included in your Google Sheets document.
Current Sheet OnlySaving as CSV only saves the currently active sheet, not the entire document if it has multiple tabs or sheets.

When you save a Google Sheets document as a CSV file, you’ll lose any formatting you applied to the document. This means that if your spreadsheet relies heavily on visual cues or formatting, those elements will not be present in the CSV file.

If your Google Sheets document contains complex formulas, these won’t be saved in the CSV file. Only the raw data from the cells is saved, which could be a problem if your data analysis depends on those formulas.

It’s also important to note that when you save as CSV, only the sheet that is currently open and active will be saved. If you have a document with multiple sheets, you’ll need to save each one individually if you want them all in CSV format.

Additional Information

Now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s talk about some additional tips that might come in handy. If you’re looking to save multiple sheets from the same document, you’ll need to repeat the process for each sheet. Remember, the CSV format is a flat-file, meaning it can’t handle multiple tabs like an Excel workbook. So, if you need to maintain the organization of a multi-sheet document, you might consider another format like Excel (.xlsx) for saving.

What if your data contains commas? Since CSV files separate data with commas, this could potentially jumble your data and make it look like it has more columns than it actually does. To prevent this, ensure your data is ‘escaped’ properly. Google Sheets automatically handles this by enclosing any data containing commas in quotes during the CSV conversion process.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while CSV files are fantastic for data portability, they’re not the best for collaborative work. If you need to work with a team on a dataset, keeping the file in Google Sheets format allows for real-time collaboration and updates, which is something a CSV file cannot offer.


  1. Open the Google Sheets document.
  2. Click on ‘File’ and hover over ‘Download’.
  3. Select ‘Comma-separated values (.csv, current sheet)’.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CSV file?

A CSV file is a plain text file that stores tabular data in a simple format, with each row represented by a new line and each column separated by a comma.

Can I save multiple Google Sheets as a single CSV file?

No, each sheet must be saved as a separate CSV file since the CSV format doesn’t support multiple sheets or tabs.

Will the CSV file keep my data’s formatting from Google Sheets?

No, CSV files do not retain any formatting. They only save the raw data.

Can I open a CSV file in Excel or other spreadsheet programs?

Yes, most spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc, and others can open and edit CSV files.

How do I ensure my data containing commas is correctly saved in the CSV file?

Google Sheets automatically encloses any data containing commas in quotes during the conversion process to ensure it is saved correctly.


Saving your Google Sheets to CSV is a piece of cake once you know how. It’s a practical skill that enhances your data’s portability and accessibility, ensuring you’re never caught in a bind no matter what software you or your colleagues are using. Remember, while the CSV format is great for its simplicity and wide acceptance, it does come with limitations like lack of formatting and formula support.

However, when it comes to sharing data quickly and efficiently, converting your Google Sheets to CSV is often the best route to take. So go ahead, give it a try, and see how this simple yet powerful feature can work for you!