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This is pretty trivial, but if someone has the answer handy, I'd appreciate it.

I use the msdb..sp_send_dbmail sproc as a lightweight way to distribute simple reports. This often entails producing a CSV. However, the sproc includes the Unicode little-endian prefix FF FE. This confuses Excel, causing it to not automatically parse the CSV into columns.

There are a number of workarounds: use a real reporting platform (we have Crystal, but it's never worked reliably); send the file to a little app that converts the file to ANSI and sends it on; use tab delimiters (my favorite); or educate the recipients about how to work with CSVs (just kidding, we all know that's not possible).

However, I'd love to just flip a switch somewhere and tell MSSQL to stop creating the attachments as Unicode, as I have no such need. I haven't found such a setting yet; is this possible?



Based on Rohan's answer, this script in a SQL Agent job step almost works:

$reportQuery = "EXEC Routine..TopTenReviewsReport @DoNotLog = 1"
$filePath = "\\SQLBI001\RawData\TopTenReviewsReport.csv"
$mailQuery = "
  EXEC msdb..sp_send_dbmail
  @profile_name = 'X',
  @recipients = 'X',
  @subject = 'X',
  @file_attachments = '" + $filePath + "'"

Invoke-Sqlcmd -query $reportQuery | export-csv $filePath
$result = Invoke-Sqlcmd -query $mailQuery

The file now has a "#TYPE System.Data.DataRow" prefix, instead of 0xFF FE, but it's now ANSI, so that's something.

share|improve this question
Clarification: I'm testing with Excel 2007, but 2K10 seems to have the same issue. Removing the prefix is enough for Excel to parse the file, it does not have to be ANSI. – Jon of All Trades Sep 28 '11 at 21:51
@Surfer513: Thanks for the tag, I could have sworn I tried that and it did not exist. – Jon of All Trades Sep 29 '11 at 14:28

I think you can generate the reports using powershell and then use DBMail to mail the attachments

Write-host "Running SQL Query to export to ANSI CSV file"
Invoke-Sqlcmd -Query $dbQuery -ServerInstance $instanceName | export-csv $targetFileAnsi
Write-host "Running SQL Query to export to Unicode CSV file"
Invoke-Sqlcmd -Query $dbQuery -ServerInstance $instanceName | export-csv $targetFileUnicode -encoding "unicode"

$dbMailQuery1 = "execute msdb..sp_send_dbmail 
@profile_name = 'msft_profile', 
@recipients = '', 
@subject = 'Email with Attachment - ANSI attachment', 
@body_format = 'TEXT', 
@body = 'This email has ANSI file attached to it', 
@file_attachments = 'c:\temp\result_ansi.csv' "


share|improve this answer
Hmm, and PowerShell is available via SQL Agent, which (I should have mentioned) is how I'm starting the jobs. Write-host is not available in that context, but that's minor. Unfortunately, the generated file has a different prefix: "#TYPE System.Data.DataRow". It is indeed ANSI now, though. – Jon of All Trades Sep 29 '11 at 15:02

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