Creating A CSV File In PHP

Today, I want to talk about how you would go about creating a CSV file from scratch, with all of your data from the database.

First off we need a little PHP code, very simple and hopefully you can understand what it is doing. To create the file we are going to be using the fopen() to check if a file is there and writable, and if it is not there we want to create it.

  // create CSV file
  $csv_folder = BASEURLHERE . '/csv';
  $filename = "sales";
  $CSVFileName = $csv_folder . '/' . $filename . '.csv';
  $FileHandle = fopen($CSVFileName, 'w') or die("can't open file");
  $fp = fopen($CSVFileName, 'w');
  foreach ($csv_fields as $fields) {
    fputcsv($fp, $fields);

So above you see the variable, $csv_fields, and it hasn’t been declared. This is the variable that I am using to store all of my data from the data base in. Remember this needs to be declared BEFORE the code above, I just wanted to break it up for a little easier viewing of both. Below we start the array() variable $csv_fields, and add the header of the CSV file, this is not a needed step at all, but if you want to have the top of the columns labeled, this is how it is done.

  $csv_fields = array();
  // add header of fields
  // this step is optional (more for client view)
  $csv_fields[0] = array();
  $csv_fields[0][] = 'Product ID';
  $csv_fields[0][] = 'Product Name';
  $csv_fields[0][] = 'Category';

Now we want to actually have the data into the variable $csv_fields… Next does just that.

  $database_returned_data = YOUR QUERY;

  // your data should be like this
  $database_returned_data = array(
    [0] => array(
      [0] => 1,
      [1] => 'Headphones',
      [2] => 3,
    [1] => array(
      [0] => 2,
      [1] => 'CD',
      [2] => 4,
    [2] => array(
      [0] => 3,
      [1] => 'iTouch',
      [2] => 1,

  $i = 1;
  foreach($database_returned_data as $row):
    $csv_fields[$i][0] = $row[0];
    $csv_fields[$i][1] = $row[1];
    $csv_fields[$i][2] = $row[2];