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Why not visidata?

https://www.visidata.org/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1CBDTgGtOU

(It does much, much more than pretty printing, but no reason you can't use it for that.)

I love visidata! But when I want to just glance at a csv file I reach for tv (I used to use `column` which is more of a tv competitor than visidata). This is for a couple reasons.

1. tv gives a quick summary of the count of rows and columns

2. tv shows all columns at the bottom that don't fit in the terminal. With vd I have to scroll on wide data.

3. tv guides the eye to missing data better with NA highlights

4. tv has sigfig logic that is better. I work with files where the decimal dust can become long. Those unnecessary characters pushes remaining columns off the screen. This means the user would need scroll over to see additional columns. I generally think it is better to avoid additional key presses if possible.

5. tv is fast for large files. It does not have to read and format all of the data like vd. tv is focused more on looking at the file and not operating on file. It does not have to do as much as vd. That helps tv with what it is uniquely good at. "Do one thing and do it well"

It does not matter if your file is really wide (lots of columns) or really long -- tv will give the user a compact useful pretty print of the data. Why not use vd as a TUI spreadsheet and tv for glancing at csv files. They are both great tools in my eyes with different purposes.

Hey there, VisiData author here. Nice work with tv! I'm sure it's more useful than VisiData for certain use cases. I just want to clear some things up since there are a few misconceptions here (which will happen if you don't use VisiData a lot):

1. In VisiData, The number of rows is always shown in the lower right, and you can see the number of columns with either Ctrl+G or a list of the columns with Shift+C. Or Shift+I for the list of columns with summary statistics (mode/distinct/errors/etc). This is an extra keystroke, but the amount of data you can get with that keystroke more than justifies it.

5. VisiData will instantly open and show any file it can, and continue to load the rest until it's done or you press Ctrl+C (or quit). Everything in VisiData is lazily evaluated, so it's not actually doing any more work than tv when you view the first page of rows, and then you can see the next few pages of rows with only one keystroke (PgDn, as opposed to having to edit a command and rerun it). Fewer keypresses ftw!

A lot of people think VisiData is a TUI spreadsheet, but vd is not a "spreadsheet" in the classic sense, as it's not cell-based. Its primary use-case is exploring and wrangling tabular data. It just turns out that this is what a lot of people are doing with their spreadsheets, but they have to bend over backwards to get Excel/whatever to play nice with their data's structure. By the same token, if you try to do little single-cell formulas in VisiData, it's going to be quite difficult.

For people who like static binaries and only need to view a few rows of CSV files, or produce part of a larger report in a pipeline, tv could be a better fit than VisiData, especially if it continues to be maintained. I'm always excited to see new data tools in the terminal space!

Oo, I am sorry. I see I misrepresented VisiData. I apologize. Thank you for the corrections.

I have a lot of respect your work. Let me know if I can make it up to you. I would be happy to point people to VisiData in my README as a recommendation of a tool that is built to explore and wrangle tabular data.

Also, thanks for the compliment! Like you, I like seeing more data tools in the terminal.


I added VisiData in my README and represented it in a positive light in the description. Again, just wanted to apologize for my mistake.


This is why I love HN. Never knew this existed. It has become my favorite tool in the past 5 mins I installed it. Also reminds me of Mainframe programs that I encountered in the past. I wish we had more tools like this instead of electron mouse click based apps for people who prefer speed and keyboard.

Visidata is fantastic, it is a lifesaver for viewing and getting stats on tabular data. It also handles json and others

Visidata is a great interactive tool. TV seems like it would be better when scripting, or in one-liners.

For scripting I would use grep and cut, maybe awk. For scripting with CSV files, at least in my experience, you usually want specific columns from specific lines.

If TV had a switch for specifying only certain columns, that would make the job much easier.

sounds like you are looking for xsv. I like that tool a lot for selecting specific columns.

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