How to export a CSV with correct charset in nodeJS

One of the most annoying thing I dealt with: how to export a CVS with correct charset in NodeJS, to show properly data containing unicode characters and that’s very often in apps with the Spanish language available.

I was trying several charsets, getting crazy because no one worked until I found this post. Thank God.

Yes, a CSV with correct charset in NodeJS

Install the text recoding module called Iconv:

npm install iconv

And the solution in my NodeJS controller using ExpressJS was something like this:

var Iconv     = require("iconv").Iconv;
var iconv     = new Iconv('utf8', 'utf16le');
function yourController(req, res) {
  var rawData   = [
    { name: 'David' }, 
    { name: 'Ángel' },
    { name: 'María' },
    { name: 'Núñez' }
  var header    = "#"+"\t"+"Name"+"\n";
  var content   = header;
  for (var i=0, total=rawData.length; i<;total; i++) {
    content += (i+1)+"\t"+rawData[i].name+"\n";
  res.setHeader('Content-Type',        'application/vnd.openxmlformats');
  res.setHeader("Content-Disposition", 'attachment; filename=itworks.xls');
  res.write(new Buffer([0xff, 0xfe]));

In this example, the controller serves automatically a CSV file (Excel compatible) with a header and a few rows containing Spanish names.

Note: To use the CSV file into Excel or similar tools, note that with \t creates a column and \n a new row.

Feel free to post a comment with your problem, suggestion or experience with it 🙂

David Burgos

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