Top 10 CSV JavaScript Parsing Libraries 2023 (+ How to parse CSV-to-JSON)

Sep 1, 2023

CSV - love it or hate it, it's a part of many businesses and how they operate. These comma-separated values come in the form of a text file with a specific format that allows for data to be translated into a tabulated structure when imported into spreadsheet software and apps such as Excel and Google Sheets. These table-based reports are often used by analysts, accountants, commercial, and marketing to view, add, and manipulate.

As developers, a majority of us work primarily with JSON, making CSV an incompatible dataset. We cannot easily filter it in its raw form or hook into the data the way we can with JSON.

This is where JavaScript CSV parsers come in. For JavaScript-based apps, CSV parsers are bridging libraries that translate tabular data into JSON compatible formats.

Here are the top 10 free JavaScript CSV parsers that you can use for your next (or current) project that contains comma-separated values.

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1. fast-csv

fast-csv is a CSV parser and formatter that combines two other popular packages (@fast-csv/format and @fast-csv/parse) together to form a single package for node.js. It has grown dramatically over the past few years from 0 to approximately 153k downloads per week. fast-csv is also actively maintained with monthly updates and great documentation.

Features of fast-csv include CSV formatting, parsing, flexible formatting, and parsing options.

To install fast-csv, use the following command:

npm i -S fast-csv

2. xlsx - SheetJS

xlsx , also known as SheetJS, ranks as one of the most popular JavaScript CSV parsers. However, it is not a completely 'free' library but more a freemium starter library with options to upgrade to a pro version for commercial support.

The free version is intensely popular with more than a quarter-million downloads each week and over 100 contributors to the library. The documentation is not as extensive as fast-csv but adequate enough to get you started and do what you need.

xlsx also comes demo directories that give sample implementation into major frameworks and libraries such as Angular, Ionic, knockout, meteor, React, React Native, Vue, and nodeJS.

To install xlsx, use the following command:

npm install xlsx

3. papaparse

papaparse is an MIT license and open-sourced CSV parser library with great documentation and easy-to-use implementations. It has zero dependencies and can work as a stand-alone library that is able to parse CSV files directly in a local environment or stream larger files.

There is also the ability to pause, resume, and abort data transfers and CSV parsing, convert numbers and booleans into types. papaparse was created with NodeJS in mind, allowing for readable streams instead of just accepting data via a file.

To install papaparse, use the following command:

npm install papaparse

4. json-2-csv

It's one thing to go from CSV to JSON - but what about JSON to CSV? The ability to export CSV can be achieved with json-2-csv library that lets you convert JSON and CSV data in both directions.

json-2-csv also supports sub-documents, custom ordering of columns, and the ability to re-generate JSON documents that were used to generate the CSV. Its ability to handle nesting is fairly extensive and function.

To install json-2-csv, use the following command:

npm install json-2-csv

5. csvtojson

csvtojson is a library that is modular and comprehensive in its handling of CSV. The library is to parse CSV to JSON or column arrays. In addition to being a library, it can also be used as a command line tool or directly in the browser for quick and targeted parsing.

csvtojson is built on bluebird (a promise library), lodash (utility library), and strip-bom (a UTF-8 byte order mark from a string) in order to deliver streaming capabilities and enable asynchronous integrations.

To install csvtojson, use the following command:

npm install csvtojson

6. csv-parser

csv-parser is a library that lets you convert CSV to JSON at the rate of around 90,000 rows per second. It also has the ability to convert CSV to JSON via the command line using csv-parser [filename?] [options]

The library is MIT licensed and is downloaded at the rate of approximately 100k per week. With the help of browserify, csv-parser can also be used in the browser.

To install csv-parser, use the following command:

npm install csv-parser

7. csv

csv is a collection of packages that can be used as stand-alone implementations or together based on the requirements. csv is the umbrella package that contains four other packages.

To install csv, use the following command:

npm install csv

The above will also install the following (which can be installed as separate packages if not everything is required):

  • csv-generate - a flexible CSV string and JavaScript objects generator. To install csv-generate, use the following command:

    npm install csv-generate
  • csv-parse - a reader that allows your app to read CSV strings, buffers, and write objects and arrays. To install csv-parse, use the following command:

    npm install csv-parse
  • csv-stringify - a stringifier that converts records into CSV text. To install csv-stringify, use the following command:

    npm install csv-stringify
  • stream-transform- a simple object transformation framework for nodeJS. To install stream-transform`, use the following command:

    npm install stream-transform

8. nest-csv-parser

nest-csv-parser is a csv-parser wrapper NestJS. This means that all the features and functionality available in csv-parser will also be available in nest-csv-parser. Using nest-csv-parser is generally straightforward and all you have to do is import the module into your NestJS project.

To install nest-csv-parser, use the following command:

npm i nest-csv-parser

9. ya-csv

ya-csv is a low-key event based CSV parser created to process large CSV streams. It is designed with zero dependencies, making it highly performant and unreliant on other libraries to make it work. With ya-csv, you can also configure the separators, quote and escape characters as required.

To install ya-csv, use the following command:

npm i ya-csv

10. skipper-csv

skipper-csv is a CSV parser adapter created to receive upstreams. It also supports multipart file uploads and starts parsing the CSV as soon as the first chunks are ready. This means that you don't have to wait for the upload to finish before you start parsing - resulting in saved time and faster data parsing.

To install skipper-csv, use the following command:

npm i skipper-csv

Which JavaScript CSV parser is the best?

Based on popularity, downloads and GitHub stars, fast-csv, xlsx - SheetJS, papaparse, and json-2-csv are the most popular. These top four libraries make up the majority of downloads and comes to a combined 2+ million downloads and installs.

However, csvtojson, csv-parser and csv also make good contenders for the 'best JavaScript CSV parser' title.

The final three libraries on this list - nest-csv-parser, ya-csv, and skipper-csv - are solid libraries but they haven't been updated in the last year. However, it doesn't make them bad libraries. It might just mean that they are stable enough to not warrant an update. Overall, the best JavaScript CSV parser is the one that works best with your project.

Want a pre-solved CSV import solution?

Remember, you can add CSV data importing to your app easily with UseCSV. All you have to do is drop in the library to your frontend app, link it up with a webhook to your backend, and your MVP, startup, or SaaS is ready to run. It supports CSV and all excel formats, has a validation rule library, and easily handles large import files.

Add CSV Import To Your App

Get Started free and start integrating UseCSV today

Add CSV Import To Your App

Get Started free

and start integrating UseCSV today

Add CSV Import To Your App

Get Started free

and start integrating UseCSV today