I have a problem with a data merge. On several tutorials if they selected the CSV file, all the data loads up separately but when I select the CSV file, all data loads like this:

Data merge window

So I can't load them up separately. What I'm doing wrong?

My steps:

  1. make excel file with all my data
  2. save this file
  3. save the CSV file
  4. open InDesign document
  5. select data source
  6. then I see this...
  • 1
    What does your csv file look like?
    – AndrewH
    Mar 14, 2017 at 15:44
  • If the marked duplicate doesn't solve your issue please make an edit with further information and we can re-open your question.
    – user9447
    Mar 14, 2017 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


This is very typical.

Indesign expects your CSV fields to be comma separated.
BUT... depending on your regional settings, Excel might export CSV with a semicolon as separator. Errr... we are not (yet) all americans. This seems to be your case... not american right? ^^

Sooo... two solutions:

  1. Export Excel file as .txt file, tab separated. It works like a charm, this is what I would do.
  2. You really want to use CSV. (If you're a Mac user... I don't know). If you're a Windows user: open Control Panel > Regional Settings, Advanced parameters: change list separator to comma.

Hope that helps

  • On a Mac you could always just open the csv in a code editor and do a find-replace on the semi-colons.
    – PieBie
    Mar 14, 2017 at 17:13
  • Sure. On a PC too. But that's an unnecessary extra step. I meant I don't know how to change regional settings on a Mac. Anyhow, I still advise using tabbed .txt
    – Vinny
    Mar 14, 2017 at 17:45
  • that could be a dangerous step if your cell data contains a semi colon itself, +1 for tabs. This btw is the kind of format they use in the nordic countries, I heard, cells are split by semi colons while number decimal points are commas.
    – Silly-V
    Mar 14, 2017 at 17:53
  • Thanks a lot Vinny! Yes, I'm not american, from Belgium here. The .txt file with tab separated works just fine! One more question Is CSV better to use than .txt? Or is this pretty much the same?
    – Quest_
    Mar 15, 2017 at 13:16
  • Good question. As far as I'm aware of, it's just a matter of separator. Commas or semicolons can be handled more easily in processes used for web development purposes, so in those cases, CSV is "better". Apart from that, I don't see much more differences. For InDesign data merge, none is better, both work as long as CSV is comma separated...
    – Vinny
    Mar 15, 2017 at 15:01

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