CSV (Comma Separated Values) is a plain-text file format for storing tabular data, such as a spreadsheet or database. It is the most common form of data interchange for web applications, often handled by a content management system. CSV files are generally comma-delimited lines of text, with the option of using different delimiters, such as tabs or spaces. Each line of the CSV file is a data record, with fields separated by a delimiter.

CSV files are supported by most spreadsheet applications, including Microsoft Excel, and can be imported into databases. They can be used for import or export operations in which tabular data is exchanged between databases, applications, or services.

CSV files are commonly used to exchange data between different applications or services, and often have headers to identify the columns of data. This allows a user to quickly map CSV columns to fields in the target application. Because data cannot contain line separators, each row must be a single line of text.

The CSV format is often preferred by software developers due to its simplicity and relative ease of parsing. Further, CSV data is often human-readable and easy to edit. This contrasts with binary formats like Microsoft Excel, which require a specific application to read.

CSV files play a key role in extracting, transforming, and loading of data within software applications. As such, CSV data is used in many data manipulation tasks like data cleansing, data preparation for analytics, and machine learning. Additionally, CSV data can be read and manipulated in many programming languages.

The CSV format remains prevalent today due to its simplicity, reliability and flexibility. It is often the preferred file format for importing and exporting data, and the one of the most popular file formats across software applications.

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