Exporting Garmin .fit files to Excel .csv files

I'm new to owning a Garmin, but I wanted to do my own analysis on my heart rate data outside of Garmin's analysis. To do this, I had to export a Garmin .fit file to a Excel csv file. I could then import the data into MATLAB to do my own analysis. After searching some forums, I found no great way to export the data. I even tried some online converters, but they didn't work. After some fidgeting, I figured it out. It's actually pretty easy, but it took some work to get it right.  Here's my step-by step-process:

Step 1: Load the data into Garmin training center. If you don't have Garmin training center, it's a free download from the app store or Garmin's website. Choose the activity you'd like to export and select the export option.
Step 2: A popup will come up asking you what format. Choose CSV. If the software was better, this would be the last step... But then i probably wouldn't need a blog post about this. The resulting CSV file gives me an error if i try to open it in Excel, and then the data is all jumbled into the first line.
Step 3: Open a BLANK workbook in Excel. Choose the import option.
Step 4: Select a text file (Not a CSV file) for your import type.
Step 5: Choose "Delimited" for your file type and click next.
Step 6: There are TWO important pieces here:
First: Set your Delimiter to "other" and insert a quotation mark (") as the delimiter
Second: Set your text qualifier to none.
The reason for this is Garmin puts quotation marks around each comma, which seems to mess up the whole Excel import process of a normal CSV

At this point you should be good to go! You'll notice every other column has a , in it. Those columns can be deleted. To get to the data for each individual waypoint you'll need to scroll down until you see the line that reads: "TrackPoint Table." I really hope this helps someone else who likes to do their own things with their data! Enjoy!

The data for each waypoint is under the heading "trackpoint table" a little ways down.

A final note: I'm not an expert on GPS watches and so if you contact me asking about which GPS watch to buy: I won't know. This guy has Really awesome reviews on GPS devices. Go check out his site.

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  • Robert Jordan

    your process for creating a csv file worked well, but the power data was not exported. Any ideas on how to accomplish a csv export including power data?

    • Ben

      Same problem with cadence, vert osc. and contacttime on the Forerunner 620. Any suggestions?

  • Ken

    Thanks for the post Mike. I like bringing my data into Excel for a closer look (not a Matlab user). I was previously using a more convoluted approach to get the data, this is easier.

    • mrsoltys

      Awesome! I'm curious what kind of things do you look for?

  • Peter N

    Thanks a lot for this post, this saved me tons of googling

  • Andrzej

    If you are on a Mac or unix box or have access to a terminal that supports sed then you can get rid of all of those extra quotes in the .csv file by using a script like this (run from command line)

    sed 's/\"//g' your_export.csv > your_export_1.csv

    Takes about a second to do and then your_export_1.csv can be loaded directly by Excel, no extra columns. You can do something similar but a bit more complex to get rid of the weird date/time delimiters and split date from time, then use excel's equally weird time functions to calculate speed etc.

  • paul

    this is also achievable using golden cheetah

  • Tarah

    How do you do this for windows? I don't have the option of choosing csv only tcx and gpx. I am doing a multivariate analysis on cycling data as a project for my MS in Statistics.


  • Thijs

    Thanks a lot Mike! Garmin Express is only available for OSX 10.7 and up, but Training Center imports and parses my fit files flawlessly. Exporting works well too, I'll be taking my csv files into Python. Cheers!

  • John A Thompson

    Hello Mike,

    Thanks for the tutorial. Garmin training center is no longer available for download. Have you updated your approach to converting .fit files to .csv? Thanks! John