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What Is A TSV File And How To Open One

June 27, 2022
What Is A TSV File And How To Open One

A TSV file stores a table of data in which the columns of data are separated by tabs. It can be imported into most spreadsheet programs that format cell data.

TSV files can also be exported from spreadsheet programs so that the data can be viewed in a plain text editor or word processor.

TSV files are often used to exchange data between databases. It is an alternative format to .CSV, another popular format for exporting spreadsheet data. In CSV files, columns of data are separated by commas, not tabs.

You can also read: How to Open MBOX Files

Index of contents

  1. What is a TSV file?
  2. Functions of a TSV file
  3. Alternative to TSV files
  4. Programs that support TSV file extension
    1. Windows
    2. MAC OS
    3. Linux
  5. How can I open a TSV file?
    1. Step 1: Load Microsoft Excel
    2. Step 2: Make sure you have the latest version of Microsoft Excel installed.
    3. Step 3: Set the default application to open TSV files in Microsoft Excel.
    4. Step 4: Check the TSV for errors
  6. Possible problems with a TSV file

What is a TSV file?

TSV files have a simple structure because they are based on plain text. They are used to store raw data in the form of tables., for example, information from a database or a spreadsheet. In a TSV file, each column of data is separated from the rest by a delimiter character. Each line of a TSV file references entries in a table.

Functions of a TSV file

TSV files can be imported, processed, and exported with most spreadsheet programs. The raw data of a TSV file can be searched with text editors.

The TSV is often used to transfer tabular data from one program to anotherfor example, from a spreadsheet to a database management program.

Alternative to TSV files

TSV files are an alternative to the popular SCV files. They differ in the way the data is separated into columns: in a CSV file it is done using a comma. Commas are often used in text fields and can cause errors in the interpretation of the SCV file by the target program.

Tab characters (rarely used in text fields) in the TSV file replace commas in CSV files, increasing the chance of correct interpretation.

Programs that support TSV file extension

Below is a list of programs that can be used to open TSV files, divided into 3 categories according to the supported system platform. TSV files can be encountered on all system platforms, including mobile devices, but there is no guarantee that these files will be properly supported by all platforms.




How can I open a TSV file?

There can be several reasons why you may have problems opening TSV files on a particular system. Please note that all common problems with files types with TSV extensions can be solved by users.

The procedure is quick and does not require the intervention of a computer technician. Below is a list of tips to help you identify and resolve file problems.

Step 1: Load Microsoft Excel

If you are having problems opening or working with TSV files, it is most likely that you do not have the correct software installed on your computer to work with TSV files. You can resolve this issue by downloading and installing Microsoft Excel or another compatible program such as Apache OpenOffice, LibreOffice, or Windows Notepad.

Below is a complete list of programs that support TSV files, ordered by system platform on which they are available. The safest way to download Microsoft Excel is to go to the manufacturer’s website (Microsoft Corporation) and download the software using the links provided.

Step 2: Make sure you have the latest version of Microsoft Excel installed.

If you have already installed Microsoft Excel on your systems and TSV files still won’t open correctly, check that you have the latest version of the software installed. Software developers can also update their applications to add support for new file formats.

If you have an older version of Microsoft Excel installed, it may not support the TSV format. The latest version of Microsoft Excel is backward compatible and can support file formats that are compatible with earlier versions of the program.

Step 3: Set the default application to open TSV files in Microsoft Excel.

If you have installed the latest version of Microsoft Excel but the problem persists, select Excel as the default application to handle TSV files on your device. The method is quite simple and does not vary much depending on the operating system.

Change the default application in Windows

  • Right-clicking the TSV will bring a menu from which you should select Open with.
  • Select Other app → Other apps.
  • Finally, select Look for another app on this computer, point to the folder where Microsoft Excel is installed, check Always use this app to open TSV files and confirm your selection by clicking OK.

Change the default application in Mac OS

  • Right-click on the TSV file and select Information.
  • Open the “Open With” section by clicking on the name.
  • Select the appropriate program from the list and confirm by clicking Change for everyone.
  • A message should appear informing that this modification applies to all files with TSV extension. Click Next to confirm your choice.

Step 4: Check the TSV for errors

If you have followed the instructions in the previous steps but the problem persists, you should check the TSV file in question. Problems opening the file can be due to various reasons.

1. The TSV may be infected with malware; it is important that you check it with an antivirus program

If the TCV is indeed infected, malware may be blocking the TCV from opening. It is recommended to scan your system for viruses and malware as soon as possible, or use an online antivirus program. Is TSV file infected with malware? Follow the steps suggested by your antivirus program. two

2. Make sure the TSV file extension is complete and without errors

Did you receive this TSV file from someone else? Ask them to resend it to you. The file may not have been copied to data memory correctly, may be incomplete, and therefore cannot be opened.

Perhaps there was an error downloading the TSV file from the internet, causing the file to be incomplete. Please try to download the file again.

3. Make sure the logged in user has administrator privileges

The user may need administrator rights to access the files. Sign in with an administrator account and see if this solves the problem.

4. Check if your system can run Microsoft Excel

If your system is heavily loaded, the program used to open files with TSV extension may not be able to handle it. In this case, please close all other applications.

5. Make sure the latest drivers, system updates and patches are installed

Regular updating of systems, drivers and software ensures the security of your computer. This can also avoid problems with tab-separated value (TSV) files. TSV files may work fine with updated software which fixes some system bugs.

Possible problems with a TSV file

A common error with a TSV file extension is an error message when trying to open or read a file with an extension that is not supported by programs installed on your computer.

If Windows can’t find a specific program when you open a TSV filethe following messages may appear: “There is no scripting engine for this TSV file extension”, “Invalid file extension: “not defined”. “Invalid file extension and file table”, “Invalid file extension valid”/ It is important to react as soon as possible and correct errors that may be caused by the following problems:

  • The file may be damaged: In this case, the solution could be to find another copy of the TSV file, send it to us again (if you obtained it from someone else), or try to download it again from the Internet.
  • There may be incorrect entries in the Windows registry for TSV file associations: In this case, you can try deleting the TSV file extension entry and re-creating the file.
  • The registry entry containing file associations may have been deleted: In this case, associate the TSV file with the application by selecting it.
  • The software to open TSV files is not fully installed: Make sure the application opens correctly. If the problem persists, try installing it again.
  • The file is infected with a virus or spyware: Install an antivirus program that specializes in removing viruses, malware, and spyware, scan your computer, and try again.
  • At this time, your computer does not have enough resources to open the TSV file.
  • Some files require a lot of CPU resources for the program to open. If you use a lot of apps, try closing the ones you don’t need and try again.
  • We do not have any updated drivers for the application that supports this file: Install the necessary drivers to open applications that support TSV files.

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