Why are there odd characters when I open a CSV in Excel?

Overview
You've reviewed product content in your Shotfarm account and it looks great. But after exporting content and opening in Excel you see some odd characters. Did Shotfarm export these bad characters? How can I solve this?
 
The Issue
As long as the content is saved correctly in a CSV and uploaded into Shotfarm's UTF-8 compliant database, we will store, display and export that content correctly into a CSV file format. The problem often lies with Microsoft Excel when the file is opened. For example, while quotation marks seem innocuous, they can cause problems when the CSV is opened, as opposed to imported into Excel, partly because quotation marks or other symbols such as apostrophes come in different forms. Some are "curly", some are "straight". It can depend on what application generated the characters to begin with. It can be hard to explain exactly why Excel has an issue with some characters but read on for some solutions.
 
The Solution
If you are a manufacturer, a best practice is to limit the widespread use of quotation marks or apostrophes (along with other characters such as accents, registered trademarks, etc.) when you are communicating a dimension such as inches or feet. Perform a find/replace of the quote marks with plain text such as "inches" or some text abbreviation such as "-in.". This solution avoids the possibility for bad characters to creep into your product content workflow. Another best practice is to perform a find/replace on suspect characters within Excel before saving it as a fresh CSV (before uploading the content). You are just replacing the quote marks with freshly typed quote marks (the straight quote marks work much better than the curly quote marks). These changes should help limit, or outright solve the problem.
 
If you are a retailer or anyone downloading content. A best practice is to "import" the CSV into Excel instead of just opening the file. This allows you to set column formats for issues such as leading zeros and often removes the bad character issues. Shotfarm can't provide support for Microsoft Excel issues, but if you search on the web for how to import a CSV into Excel you'll quickly find step by step instructions or video tutorials.
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