Using CSV Files

All file uploads used to import data into RetailNext are done through CSV files. This page describes how to use CSV files in conjunction with RetailNext.

What is a CSV File?

A comma-separated values (CSV) file contains comma (,) delimited text data. These files are quite similar to data sheets - with each comma in a line of a CSV file effectively acting as a column divider. In a CSV file, each line represents a record and fields within a record are separated by commas, where every record has the same sequence of fields.

CSV file example with terminology


Example CSV file converted to sheet

CSV files are a common method for generating and exchanging data between computer systems. See RFC 4180 for detailed CSV formatting standards.

Generating CSV Files

CSV files should be generated programmatically whenever possible, not created by hand.

Use an automated system to generate and post CSV files regularly to RetailNext. Most file upload data supported by RetailNext is designed to be exported from some automated system or database, like your Point of Sale application.

Avoid modifying the output of an automated system by hand. Note that programs like Microsoft Excel may modify the contents of a CSV file (like the date format) if you open the file and then save it.

If you need to manage data by hand or test the formatting of a CSV file, you can use a software application like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to manually generate a CSV file.

Configuring CSV Files

CSV files uploaded to RetailNext must conform with a specified configuration in order to pass validation and import data successfully. A variety of controls in Admin Settings > File Upload Configuration gives you more flexibility by letting you pre-specify the configuration of your CSV files uploaded to RetailNext for each file type - such as the column order, timestamp format, encoding, etc.

For example, if your automated system generates CSV files that contain more data columns than RetailNext requires, you can easily configure RetailNext to Ignore specified columns in those file uploads.

See File Upload Configuration for more information.

Formatting Quotes and Commas

Fields in a CSV file are separated by a comma by default, therefore, data that includes a comma must be enclosed with double-quote ("). Furthermore, data that includes one or more double-quotes must also be enclosed in double-quotes, and the quotes that are part of the data must be doubled.

For example, the value Data "with quotes, comma" must be formatted as "Data ""with quotes, comma"""