Don’t forget to share this post

There are many reasons why you might want to save or export your Google Sheets as CSV files. Comma-separated value files are as simple as they are useful, and they can be imported to just about any data analysis software. Since data is stripped of any formatting, the file size is much smaller: a couple of MBs can contain hundreds of thousands of cells. While the comma is a standard separator in these files, hence the name, it is also possible to save it as a tab-separated value (TSV) file. However, if you would like to use a different or custom separator, it will require some scripting.

In this article, you will learn how easy it is to convert your Google Sheets to CSV files. You will also learn about some more advanced methods to automatically export your spreadsheet data to CSV. With a tool like Layer, you can set up automatic flows and synchronize your data to multiple formats. If you’re looking to convert in the other direction, check out our article on How to Import CSV to Google Sheets Automatically.

Convert a Google Sheet to CSV Manually

  1. 1. Open the spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
  2. 2. Click on the tab you want to save as CSV.
  3. 3. Go to File > Download > Comma Separated Values (.csv).

CSV files contain no formatting or visualizations of any kind, just data in a highly structured format. When converting a Google Sheet to CSV format, remember that all your data has to be in one tab, as CSV doesn’t support multiple tabs. These steps below will show you how to select the tab and download it as a CSV file.

  1. 1. Open your spreadsheet in Google Sheets and click on the tab with the data you want to convert to the CSV format.
How To Save Export Google Sheets To CSV Open Sheets
How To Save & Export Google Sheets To CSV - Open Sheets
  1. 2. Go to File > Download > Comma Separated Values (.csv).
How To Save Export Google Sheets To CSV Download CSV
How To Save & Export Google Sheets To CSV - Download CSV
  1. 3. By default, the suggested filename for the CSV will be the same as the original file. If you want to save more than one tab in the same file, you might want to save with the name of the tab to avoid confusion.
How To Save Export Google Sheets To CSV Save As
How To Save & Export Google Sheets To CSV - Save As

How to Import CSV to Google Sheets Automatically?

If you need to open CSV files in Google Sheets, you can either do it manually or automatically. Here's how to import CSV files into Google Sheets.

READ MORE
How to Import CSV to Google Sheets Automatically

Export Google Sheets to CSV Automatically

While it’s very easy to manually export your Sheets tabs as CSV files, if this is a regular task, it’s time-consuming and error-prone. So how can you automate this process? Below, you will learn about some of the possibilities for automatic export to CSV from Google Sheets.

Export Google Sheets to CSV Automatically with Publish to Web

Using Google Sheets’ “Publish to Web” feature, you can publish a link to share your spreadsheet tab in the CSV format. By default, “Automatically republish when changes are made” is enabled.

  1. 1. Open your Google Sheet and go to File > Share > Publish to web.
How To Save Export Google Sheets To CSV Publish to Web
How To Save & Export Google Sheets To CSV - Publish to Web
  1. 2. In the “Link” tab, click on the right-hand drop-down and choose Comma-separated values (.csv).
How To Save Export Google Sheets To CSV Choose Format
How To Save & Export Google Sheets To CSV - Choose Format
  1. 3. From the left-hand drop-down, choose the tab you want to share as a CSV.
How To Save Export Google Sheets To CSV Choose Tab
How To Save & Export Google Sheets To CSV - Choose Tab
  1. 4. Click on “Published content & settings” to access additional options. As you can see below, you can restrict access to specific groups. Under “Published content” it says “None” because we have not yet clicked the “Publish” button.
How To Save Export Google Sheets To CSV Advanced Options
How To Save & Export Google Sheets To CSV - Advanced Options
  1. 5. Once you’re happy with the settings, click “Publish”.
How To Save Export Google Sheets To CSV Publish
How To Save & Export Google Sheets To CSV - Publish
  1. 6. That’s it. You’ve created a link that users can access to download a CSV of the data in the selected tab.
How To Save Export Google Sheets To CSV Published Link
How To Save & Export Google Sheets To CSV - Published Link
  1. 7. To stop publishing this content, click on “Published content & settings”. Under the name of the shared content, you’ll see a button that says, “Stop publishing”.
How To Save Export Google Sheets To CSV Stop Publishing
How To Save & Export Google Sheets To CSV - Stop Publishing
Combine Multiple CSV Files Into One Excel File Multiple Methods
Combine Multiple CSV Files Into One Excel File (Multiple Methods)

If you have data in several CSV files you can merge them into one file in Excel. Here's how to combine multiple CSV files in Excel.

READ MORE

Export Google Sheets to CSV Automatically with Google Apps Script

If you’re familiar with APIs and have some programming skills, you can create complex scripts using Python, PHP, etc. to connect to your data and manipulate it in any way you wish. However, this is not an option for everyone.

Google Sheets offers a more user-friendly interface for creating scripts using JavaScript: the Google Apps Script add-on. However, it does require some knowledge of JavaScript, as well as familiarity with Google services.

How To Save Export Google Sheets To CSV Google Apps Script
How To Save & Export Google Sheets To CSV - Google Apps Script

How to manage Google Sheets data with Layer?

Layer adds productivity features to your Google Sheets. Share parts of your spreadsheet, request input, and accept or reject changes to make collaboration seamless and more efficient while keeping full control over your data.

Using Layer, you can:

  • Manage Access: Give spreadsheet access to relevant stakeholders on a tab or cell level.
  • Review & Track: Consolidate input and easily track changes.
  • Collaborate: Define, assign, and automate tasks and set deadlines.

Sign up for early access and start automating your Google Sheets workflows with Layer!

Conclusion

As you have seen, it’s easy to save your Google Sheet tabs as CSV files. However, if this is a task you have to perform frequently, you may want to consider automating all or part of the process. You can do this by creating simple scripts or macros directly in Google Sheets, but there are limits to what you can do. More complex and powerful scripts require time and skill, so they’re not always an option.

You now know how to export your Google Sheets manually to the CSV format. You also know how to use the Publish to Web feature in Google Sheets to automate the conversion. For more advanced methods that allow you to choose the separator and other parameters, you can create your own scripts or use a third-party tool. By using a tool like Layer, you can create automated workflows to ensure your data is automatically synchronized across multiple formats.

Hady ElHady
Hady is Content Lead at Layer.

Hady has a passion for tech, marketing, and spreadsheets. Besides his Computer Science degree, he has vast experience in developing, launching, and scaling content marketing processes at SaaS startups.

Originally published Jul 28 2022, Updated Aug 2 2022