I could not figure out why when doing an alphabetical sort, some records were coming in “at the bottom.” For example I’d have A to Z for records 1 to 100 followed by a second A to Z of records 101 to 200. I could see no extra spaces, or anything to indicate why this was happening. At long last I discovered that occasionally CSV imports (mine were exported from Zoho) have a glitch where hidden tabs can tag along.
The fix is a wee bit tedious, as you can’t just do a global replace (I did try that!), but it sure beats the alternative of retyping things (which was what I did for a while before getting determined enough to find the answer).
Open exported CSV file in your spreadsheet program. For each column, insert a blank column next to it on the right. In that column, add the formula =CLEAN(A1) [or whatever cell is your first entry].
Use the copy / drag function (copy, format down) to fill the entire second column. That column now has clean data with no extemporaneous tabs. It would be nice if you could stop there and just copy that column, but you have to do one more series of steps.
Copy that column of clean data.
Select the unclean data column entries and “paste value” over top of them.
Delete the column with the formula and move on to the NEXT column in your database.
NOTE: Use =trim(CLEAN(A1) to additionally remove double spaces anywhere in the entry.
Thanks to Excel Jet for the video that explained how Excel can clean text. (Here’s the link to the video. It doesn’t mention Airtable, as that wasn’t their focus, but it does make importing TO Airtable a lot smoother knowing this! https://exceljet.net/lessons/how-to-clean-text-with-clean-and-trim)