Sometimes when you import a foreign language file into Excel (say an Endnote XML file), the accents are not preserved and become corrupted (especially if the text file was saved as UTF-8). Here’s a few steps to take to make sure the accents come in properly when you import into Excel (I created an Endnote XML file from Zotero using Spanish journal articles and contained accents in the titles):

  • Export the file from Zotero as an Endnote XML file (or copy and paste your file into TextEdit)
  • Open the XML file in TextEdit
  • Create a Duplicate (File –> Duplicate)
  • On the copy file click Save–> File
  • In the Plain text encoding drop down, choose Western (Mac OS Roman)
  • Click Save
  • Open Excel and go to the Data menu and choose  Data–> Get External Data –> Import Text File
  • Find your duplicate file that you saved as Western (Mac OS Roman) and click the Get Data button
  • Choose how you want the data displayed in your excel spreadsheet (Text Import Wizard Step 1), click Next
  • View how the data will be displayed in the text Import Wizard Step 2, click Next
  • View how the data will be displayed in Import Text Wizard Step 3, and click Finish
  • Choose if you want the data imported on the current sheet or a new sheet (make sure the cells are blank) and click Ok

Now your text data has been imported into Excel with the accents preserved.

Note: You can do a similar process with Notepad on Windows (saving as ANSI encoding).