Troubleshooting | Excel Converts SKUs into Scientific Notation and Removes Special Characters

Some merchants may experience an issue in which Excel automatically converts long SKU or GTIN numbers to scientific notation or removes unique characters from text. If you are experiencing these issues, use the steps below to prevent Excel from making alterations.

Because Excel will automatically make these changes, this method involves formatting a blank worksheet as text-only, which will prevent automatic conversions, and then importing the data from your CSV file. These steps are for Excel 2010, but the process is similar for other versions. (You may also want to consider creating a custom export template without SKUs to use when you don't require the SKU.)

1. Open a blank Excel Workbook.

2. Highlight the entire workbook by typing Ctrl + A (Windows) or Command + A (Mac).

3. In the Home tab, change the Number format to Text.

4. Go to DataGet External DataFrom Text.

Data from text

5. Select your CSV file and click Import.

6. Under Original Data type, select Delimited. Under File Origin, select 65001: Unicode (UTF-8), then click Next.

Text Import Step Six

7. Under Delimiters, deselect Tab and select Comma. Click Next.

Delimiters > Comma

8. In the Data Preview pane, select the entire data set. (To select, scroll all the way to the right, hold the Shift key, then click on the last column.

9. Under the Column Data Format, select Text. This will prevent it from auto-changing formats.

Data format and preview pane

10. Click Finish, then OK on the next pop-up. Your CSV file's contents should now populate the workbook without the numbers converting to scientific notation. Remember to save your new file as a CSV.


How do I use numbers in other columns? If you have other number-based columns that you need recognized as numbers so that you can execute Excel functions, highlight the column and change the number format to Number or General. This will convert your column without affecting the Product Code/SKU column.

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