Renders a CSV to the command line in a Markdown-compatible, fixed-width format:

usage: csvlook [-h] [-d DELIMITER] [-t] [-q QUOTECHAR] [-u {0,1,2,3}] [-b]
               [-p ESCAPECHAR] [-z FIELD_SIZE_LIMIT] [-e ENCODING] [-L LOCALE]
               [-S] [--blanks] [--null-value NULL_VALUES [NULL_VALUES ...]]
               [--date-format DATE_FORMAT] [--datetime-format DATETIME_FORMAT]
               [-H] [-K SKIP_LINES] [-v] [-l] [--zero] [-V]
               [--max-rows MAX_ROWS] [--max-columns MAX_COLUMNS]
               [--max-column-width MAX_COLUMN_WIDTH]
               [--max-precision MAX_PRECISION] [--no-number-ellipsis]
               [-y SNIFF_LIMIT] [-I]

Render a CSV file in the console as a Markdown-compatible, fixed-width table.

positional arguments:
  FILE                  The CSV file to operate on. If omitted, will accept
                        input as piped data via STDIN.

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --max-rows MAX_ROWS   The maximum number of rows to display before
                        truncating the data.
  --max-columns MAX_COLUMNS
                        The maximum number of columns to display before
                        truncating the data.
  --max-column-width MAX_COLUMN_WIDTH
                        Truncate all columns to at most this width. The
                        remainder will be replaced with ellipsis.
  --max-precision MAX_PRECISION
                        The maximum number of decimal places to display. The
                        remainder will be replaced with ellipsis.
  --no-number-ellipsis  Disable the ellipsis if --max-precision is exceeded.
  -y SNIFF_LIMIT, --snifflimit SNIFF_LIMIT
                        Limit CSV dialect sniffing to the specified number of
                        bytes. Specify "0" to disable sniffing entirely, or
                        "-1" to sniff the entire file.
  -I, --no-inference    Disable type inference when parsing the input. This
                        disables the reformatting of values.

If a table is too wide to display properly try piping the output to less -S or truncating it using csvcut.

If the table is too long, try filtering it down with grep or piping the output to less.

See also: Arguments common to all tools.


The fractional part of a decimal numberal is always truncated. To control this truncation, use --no-inference along with --max-column-width.


Basic use:

csvlook examples/testfixed_converted.csv

This tool is especially useful as a final operation when piping through other tools:

csvcut -c 9,1 examples/realdata/FY09_EDU_Recipients_by_State.csv | csvlook

If a data row contains more cells than the header row, csvlook will error. To fix the header row, use csvclean.

To ignore the extra cells, instead:

csvcut -C "" examples/bad.csv | csvlook

If these rows are at the top of the file (for example, copyright notices), you can skip the rows:

csvlook --skip-lines 1 examples/bad.csv

This error can also occur if csvlook incorrectly deduces (“sniffs”) the CSV format. To disable CSV sniffing, set --snifflimit 0 and then, if necessary, set the --delimiter and --quotechar options yourself. Or, set --snifflimit -1 to use the entire file as the sample, instead of the first 1024 bytes.