Line breaks in Arabic text after UTF-8 data import Excel

Hi all,

I'm working with an encrypted XLS form in KoBoCollect ( server) and use ODK Briefcase (v1.13.1) for decryption. As Arabic text is not displayed correctly when simply opening the CSV export (e.g., "كان لديه عمل"), I import the csv file in an XLSX file using UTF-8 as the File_Origin.

In the resultant XLSX file, there are many unintended line breaks in the Arabic texts:

These line breaks do not appear in the original CSV file:

I have been fixing these line breaks manually, but I would very much like to find a way to automate the process, as it's quite time consuming.

For example, I hoped that Excel might have a formula that does the same as the data import using UTF-8. Then I could open the regular CSV file, add a column to the right of any Arabic text column, and use the UTF-8 formula to get the normal Arabic text:

However, I'm not that much of an Excel expert and couldn't find this function. I'm hoping that someone on this forum has found a way - any method at all, I'm really not picky - to fix or at least ameliorate the issue. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated!

Many thanks in advance!

What happens if you use the latest version of Briefcase (currently v1.18)? Does the import work better?

Hi @pax_hossain ,

I suggest you to try libreoffice instead of excel to open the csv file.

When opening the csv it will ask you by default to use UTF-8 and which language is the file.

I normally use this and solve problems with languages and line breaks.