Opening CSV Reports With Non-English Text in MS Excel

PaperCut offers a large variety of reports to allow you to analyse your printing usage in many different ways. These reports are available in PDF, HTML and Excel/CSV.

When opening a CSV report in MS Excel, some non-English characters (or symbols like the British Pound (£) or Euro (€) sign) may not display correctly. This is usually related to the complex and confusing topic of character encoding. PaperCut generates the text-based CSV files in the operating system’s default character encoding. Sometimes there is a mismatch between the encodings where PaperCut is running (e.g. on a Mac or Linux server) and the Windows machine where Excel is running.

Unfortunately, Excel doesn’t do a very good job of detecting the correct character encoding, which can result in some of these characters from displaying incorrectly. Alternative spreadsheet applications such as OpenOffice Calc and KOffice KSpread correctly detect and display CSV files.

There are a couple of options to try …

1. Change the character encoding PaperCut uses to create CSV files

Instead of using the platform default, you can force PaperCut to use a particular character encoding. To do this:

  • Login to the PaperCut admin interface
  • Go to the “Options” tab.
  • Select the “Config Editor (Advanced)” option.
  • Find the “reports.csv-charset” and set to an appropriate encoding. For most western languages, “ISO-8859–1” is an appropriate choice. A sample of options are:
    • UTF-16LE - a unicode format commonly used on Windows.
    • ISO-8859–1 - used for most western and latin based languages
    • UTF-8 - a unicode format commonly used on Linux and Mac
  • Press the “Update” button next to the setting and confirm that the setting changed.
  • Re-create a report and test that it works as expected.

Some testing may be required to find the appropriate encoding for your language and tools.

2. Import data into Excel and specify the character encoding

To work around this problem you do the following steps to use Excel:

  • Save the .csv file as .txt
  • Open the .txt file in Excel. This will bring up the ‘import wizard’
  • Choose ‘Delimited’ data type, and specify an appropriate encoding to match the contents of your report

Categories: How-to Articles, Reporting