Free Online CSV Escape

In computing and telecommunication, an escape character is a character which invokes an alternative interpretation on subsequent characters in a character sequence. An escape character is a particular case of metacharacters. Generally, the judgment of whether something is an escape character or not depends on context.

An escape character may not have its own meaning, so all escape sequences are of two or more characters.

Escape characters are part of the syntax for many programming languages, data formats, and communication protocols. For a given alphabet an escape character's purpose is to start character sequences (so named escape sequences), which have to be interpreted differently from the same characters occurring without the prefixed escape character.

There are usually two functions of escape sequences. The first is to encode a syntactic entity, such as device commands or special data, which cannot be directly represented by the alphabet. The second use, referred to as character quoting, is to represent characters, which cannot be typed in current context, or would have an undesired interpretation. In the latter case an escape sequence is a digraph consisting of an escape character itself and a "quoted" character.

A comma-separated values (CSV) file is a delimited text file that uses a comma to separate values. A CSV file stores tabular data (numbers and text) in plain text. Each line of the file is a data record. Each record consists of one or more fields, separated by commas. The use of the comma as a field separator is the source of the name for this file format.

The CSV file format is not fully standardized. The basic idea of separating fields with a comma is clear, but that idea gets complicated when the field data may also contain commas or even embedded line breaks. CSV implementations may not handle such field data, or they may use quotation marks to surround the field. Quotation does not solve everything: some fields may need embedded quotation marks, so a CSV implementation may include escape characters or escape sequences.

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