Arguments common to all tools

csvkit’s tools share a set of common command-line arguments. Not every argument is supported by every tool, so please check which are supported by the tool you are using with the --help flag:

                      Delimiting character of the input CSV file.
-t, --tabs            Specify that the input CSV file is delimited with
                      tabs. Overrides "-d".
                      Character used to quote strings in the input CSV file.
-u {0,1,2,3}, --quoting {0,1,2,3}
                      Quoting style used in the input CSV file. 0 = Quote
                      Minimal, 1 = Quote All, 2 = Quote Non-numeric, 3 =
                      Quote None.
-b, --no-doublequote  Whether or not double quotes are doubled in the input
                      CSV file.
                      Character used to escape the delimiter if --quoting 3
                      ("Quote None") is specified and to escape the
                      QUOTECHAR if --no-doublequote is specified.
                      Maximum length of a single field in the input CSV
-e ENCODING, --encoding ENCODING
                      Specify the encoding of the input CSV file.
-L LOCALE, --locale LOCALE
                      Specify the locale (en_US) of any formatted numbers.
-S, --skipinitialspace
                      Ignore whitespace immediately following the delimiter.
--blanks              Do not coerce empty, "na", "n/a", "none", "null", "."
                      strings to NULL values.
--date-format DATE_FORMAT
                      Specify a strptime date format string like "%m/%d/%Y".
--datetime-format DATETIME_FORMAT
                      Specify a strptime datetime format string like
                      "%m/%d/%Y %I:%M %p".
-H, --no-header-row   Specify that the input CSV file has no header row.
                      Will create default headers (a,b,c,...).
-K SKIP_LINES, --skip-lines SKIP_LINES
                      Specify the number of initial lines to skip before the
                      header row (e.g. comments, copyright notices, empty
-v, --verbose         Print detailed tracebacks when errors occur.
-l, --linenumbers     Insert a column of line numbers at the front of the
                      output. Useful when piping to grep or as a simple
                      primary key.
--zero                When interpreting or displaying column numbers, use
                      zero-based numbering instead of the default 1-based
-V, --version         Display version information and exit.

These arguments can be used to override csvkit’s default “smart” parsing of CSV files. This may be necessary, for example, if the input file uses a particularly unusual quoting style or has an encoding that is incompatible with UTF-8.

For example, to disable CSV sniffing, set --snifflimit 0 and then, if necessary, set the --delimiter and --quotechar options yourself. To disable type inference, add the --no-inference flag.

The output of csvkit’s tools is always formatted with “default” formatting options. This means that when executing multiple csvkit commands (either with a pipe or through intermediary files) it is only ever necessary to specify these arguments the first time (and doing so for subsequent commands will likely cause them to fail).

See the documentation of csvclean for a description of the default formatting options.