You’ve likely heard of CSVs, but they can seem challenging to truly understand. Let’s take a look at exactly what they are, how they can bring convenience to your business, and how they can make the use of document management software (DMS) more convenient.


The Simple Explanation of CSV

Despite that they’re almost always referred to as CSV, the term is actually an acronym for “comma separated value” files. Their primary purpose is to save data in a table-structured format. They look much like any other spreadsheet, except for the fact that they end with a .csv extension. Though they look like spreadsheets when open, the computer sees them essentially as text files that contain information that’s separated by commas. This is how they got their name.

One of the main advantages of CSV files is that they can be opened and used with any spreadsheet program, including Open Office, Google, and Excel. There are key differences between them and other types of spreadsheet files though. Namely, because they’re saved as text, you can’t have more than a single sheet in one file, you can’t save formulas, and you can’t save styling changes for columns, cells, or rows.


How to Save a File as a CSV

Saving a file as a CSV is the same regardless of which program you’re using, and it’s a simple process.

  1. Open the file you want to save as a CSV.
  2. Click on “File.”
  3. Click on “Save As.”
  4. Under the “Save as Type” dropdown box, choose .csv.
  5. At this point your program may give you a message indicating that some features of the file you’re trying to save as a CSV are not compatible with this file format. This means that, as we outlined above, you may lose certain elements such as formulas or row styling. Click “OK” to save it as a CSV, but understand that these elements may be lost.



CSV Files Work Perfectly with DMS

There are many advantages of working with a document management system, which we’ll detail below, but one in particular is very relevant to CSV files: the ability for many different programs to utilize the same file. When you choose DMS, you’re choosing a system that will allow multiple users to access the same information from wherever they’re at. If you have users running Excel, others running Open Office, and others using Google Docs, having a file extension like CSV allows everyone to access the info, regardless of the type of program they’re using.


Make the Most of Your DMS

There are tons of advantages of using DMS. Let’s take a look at some examples that could revolutionize the way your company does business.


Total Compatibility

While we’ve covered above that CSV files are compatible with many types of programs, this is true of many elements of a document management system. Instead of clashing with your IT setup, it offers additional compatibility. This will eventually save your team both time and money.


Document Management Software Is Easy to Use

If your company is like most, then you have some employees who are very tech savvy and others who don’t have a ton of experience with the latest technologies. A DMS is easy to use and after a short, basic orientation, most anyone should be able to use it.


Intuitive Organizational Structure

The right DMS has an intuitive organizational structure with steps that make sense, even for those who are only proficient at basic computer functions. This not only helps make it easy to learn, but it makes it more likely that your employees will be able to get the most from their DMS.


Communication Is Simple

In their most basic setup, documents are essentially communication tools. Because DMS make it easier to share documents within your organization, it helps to improve and simplify communication.


Simple Audit Trails

One of the challenges of having many employees working on the same project is keeping track of who made changes to what, and why. DMS tracks changes for all materials and keeps older versions; this detailed versioning makes it easy to know when updates are needed, when they’ve been made, and who made them.


Peace of Mind Through Backup and Security

No matter what sector your organization is in, backing up your data is necessary and security is essential. DMS should come with powerful backup and security features. You should also have administrative controls that allow you to assign permissions that allow only certain employees to access your most confidential information.


Ease of Use On-the-Go

In this day and age, the amount of time workers spend in actual offices is on the decline. DMS allows users to access information through smartphones, tablets, and laptops—virtually anywhere they have an internet connection. No matter where your employees are, they can access their essential work documents.

CSV files are a great way to ensure your spreadsheets are compatible and viewable by anyone who accesses them. They’re the perfect complement to DMS that offers access to a wide range of users who may be using different systems and programs.