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Scrambled / Corrupted Characters when using Excel to "Save As" CSV

If you use Excel to compile your list of contacts (say to be imported for use to send edm/newsletters), you may sometimes encounter problems where non-English characters (e.g. Chinese characters, special accented characters) will become corrupted after saving the Excel into a CSV file.

This is because non-English characters need to be saved into a text file (which csv is a type) that is encoded in Unicode (or more specifically, UTF-8). Although Excel supports UTF-8 encoded, it does not support saving a CSV file in UTF-8 encoding (strange that it may seem, this is the reality) in an easy way without resorting to scripting / programming.

The solution is not to use Excel to save / export the file into CSV. You can prepare the Excel and then use one of the following programs to open it and then export it to CSV.

Google Docs - docs.google.com (free, online service, requires Google account)

Openoffice Calc - www.openoffice.org (free)

iWork Numbers (Mac only) - www.apple.com/iwork/numbers (costs US $79 from Apple Appstore)
 
When you use one of these programs from above to export / save as CSV, looking for the encoding option and select UTF-8 as the encoding. You should then be able to import into Contacts and preserve any non-English characters.

For technical information, please refer to this thread from Stackoverflow.

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