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csv2latex — convert a csv file into a LaTeX document


csv2latex [--nohead] [--longtable] [--noescape] [--guess] [--separator c|s|t|p|l]
[--block q|d|n] [--lines #] [--position l|c|r] [--colorrows 0-1] [--reduce 1|2|3|4]
[--repeatheader] [--nohlines] [--novlines] [file]


This manual page documents the csv2latex program.

csv2latex is a program that reads a "comma separated values" (csv) file and outputs a
LaTeX file with one or more tabular environments to display the printable values of the
csv file. The LaTeX code is flushed on the standard output.

So-called "comma separated values" files are common formats for exchanging two-dimensinal
tables between programs such as spreadsheets editors, to represent almost any kind of
data. By default, a csv file is made of printable data separated by commas (`,'), each
comma representing a `cell' separator, and each line representing a row. By extension,
cell separators can be represented by tabs if the comma is considered as printable data.
Moreover, some non true csv files can be assumed as two-dimensional tables as well. In
some circumstances, if the printable data includes the cell separator of the exchange
format, the latter can use a second extra character to embrace the printable data into a
block (e.g: quoted text). Thus, it is still possible to parse the file by using the block
delimiter (used twice to embrace the cell) instead of the separator.

csv2latex aims to parse various csv formats plus formats that fits into the above
definiton, assuming the data is text, and to produce a yet simple LaTeX file using the
"tabular" environment for a table-style layout. Some options of output will also use
macros provided by extra LaTeX packages that are commonly included in the main LaTeX


This program follows the usual GNU command line syntax, with long options starting with
two dashes (`-'). A summary of options is included below.

-h --help
Show summary of options.

-v --version
Show version of program.

-n --nohead
Do not output the LaTeX document header. This is useful when the output is to
be included as a separate file into the master document.

-t --longtable
uses the 'longtable' package instead of the 'tabular' one. This is useful when
the input is long, with --lines 0 option. This option uses the extra
`longtable' LaTeX package. If you also use --nohead option, do not forget to
add the following line into the header of your master document:

-x --noescape
Do not escape TeX control characters from the input. This is useful when the
input contains already TeX code.

-g --guess
Try to guess the csv format. This is useful when the input is not strictly a
comma separated set of printable data. For example, a line like %Foo,
Bar%:%Wizz: Hey% may be parsed as "Foo, Bar" then "Wizz: Hey".

-s c|s|t|p|l --separator c|s|t|p|l
Set the given separator as cell separator of the csv format. `c' means a comma
(default). `s' means a semicolon. `t' means a tab. `p' means a space. `l'
means a colon.

-b q|d|n --block q|d|n
Set the given block delimiter that embraces the printable data of the csv
format. `q' means a simple quote. `d' means a double quote. `n' means no
quoting at all (default).

-l # --lines #
Force to output multiple tabulars, each having a limited number of lines. The
given argument must be a POSITIVE INTEGER VALUE. This is useful when the number
of input rows is too big to fit into a single papersheet. A good average for a4
paper is about 40 lines (default). 0 means infinity (actualy about 2 Giga

-p l|c|r --position l|c|r
Set the text position in all cells at once. This simply uses one of the three
basic cell formating options of the LaTeX tabular environment. `l' means left-
aligned (default). `c' means centered. `r' means right-aligned.

-c 0-1 --colorrows 0-1
Alternate white/gray rows on the LaTeX output, having the given graylevel. The
given argument must be a REAL NUMBER BETWEEN 0 AND 1. 0 means black while 1
means white. A nice looking value is 0.75 when printed on white paper. This
option uses the extra `colortbl' LaTeX package. If you also use --nohead
option, do not forget to add the following line into the header of your master
document: "\usepackage{colortbl}".

-r 1|2|3|4 --reduce 1|2|3|4
Reduce the size of the tabular and the font in the LaTeX output, given a
reduction level. The given argument must be one of 1, 2, 3 or 4. The more the
level is high, the more the tabular will appear small. This is useful to shrink
the table width when the printable data is made of very long text. This option
uses the extra `relsize' LaTeX package. If you also use --nohead option, do not
forget to add the following line into the header of your master document:

-z --nohlines
Do not output horizontal lines in the table(s).

-y --novlines
Do not output vertical lines in the table(s).

-e --repeatheader
Repeat the first row of the first table in every table. This is useful when the
output is very long and separated in multiple tables.


Create a PDF document with small text, alternate gray rows, 80 lines per table, from a
guessed csv format of the january stats that my boss created with his super point-and-
click spreadsheet program (which could not generate a PDF output!).

csv2latex --guess --lines 80 --colorrows 0.75 --reduce 2 january_stats.csv >
january_stats.tex && pdflatex january_stats.tex

Quickly preview a phonebook from a file formated as "Surname" "Name" "Phone" "Cellular":

csv2latex -s p -b d -l 42 phonebook-sorted.txt | latex

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