Tab Delimited

What Does Tab Delimited Mean?

Tab delimited is a text format which is widely accepted for creation and viewing by most spreadsheet programs and editor applications. A tab delimited text file is unique because an entry in the file cannot take more than a single line — the first line is called a header line, and it contains the labels for each field; various fields are separated by tabs and each entry must have the same number of fields.

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Tab delimited is also known as tab-separated values (TSV).

Techopedia Explains Tab Delimited

The tab delimited format stores information from a database or spreadsheet in the format of a tabular structure. Each record takes one line of storage in the text file. Both Microsoft and Google allow the user to convert a spreadsheet into tab delimited format. It is important to understand that tabs are invisible and nothing but a long space character. This file format is used to move tabular data between different computer programs that support different formats. For example, a TSV file might be used to transfer information from a database program to a spreadsheet.

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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.