Data merge is not importing certain characters correctly. Namely greek letters (Ψ, Ω, etc). I've tried different fonts and still no dice.

4 Answers 4


Found the solution here. The trick was changing the encoding on the .csv to UTF-16

  • Great, it works with changing the encoding to UTF-16 with Sublime text editor by File > Save with encoding. After that I selected ASCI as import in Indesign, or is as UNICODE better? Oct 4, 2022 at 13:45

I was able to successfully load Japanese characters by:

  1. save the data file as .csv in excel
  2. take that excel doc and uploading it to google sheets (to remove all the junk excel puts in their .csv)
  3. Redownload the file from google sheets. locate the file and (on windows) right click the file and hit "edit".
  4. This opened the file in Notepad, hit "save as" and change the encoding to "Unicode"
  5. load the new text file in Data Merge

I hope this helps anyone who may be googling around looking for a solution!

  • Excel doesn’t put any ‘junk’ in CSV files. It offers very little choice (read: none at all) by way of encoding and delimiter character, and it tends to quote columns that don’t need quoting, but none of that is ‘junk’. Uploading to Google Sheets is completely unnecessary, just open the file in a proper editor – don’t use Notepad, use something like Notepad++ or VSCode which give you actual control over the output and support CSV as a format, rather than just as plain text – and save with the appropriate settings. Aug 12, 2020 at 6:50

If you save the Excel file as a Unicode file, you get what is essentially a tab delimited file. Take the file into Notepad or your favourite text editor and do a search and replace for the tabs and any extra spaces to each side and replace them with commas. You might need to do this two or three times to get the commas everywhere they need to go. Then save as "All Files ." and change the extension to CSV. Bada bing! The full Unicode set of characters will be preserved.


I had the same issue. UTF-8 encoding gave garbled text when there were non-ascii characters, and indd couldn't handle UTF-16.

I opened the CSV in VSCode, and resaved it with Western (Windows 1252) encoding.

It's not perfect: Hagåtña comes in OK, but Kandahār fails.

I'm using InDesign 17.0.1 x64.

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