Q: How do I import data from a text file into dBASE?
A: Importing data into tables is a basic need for any database system.
dBASE provides this functionality through the use of the APPEND FROM command. Although there are a number of ways in which to use this command, we are interested only in the basic functionality of importing data to a table at this time. Once you understand the basic functioning of this command, you can view the on-line help for further information on the APPEND FROM command.
In order for you to import your data there are a couple of steps which must be followed.
1) You must have an existing table into which you will import your data. That means that you must create a new table whose structure will satisfy the needs of your data.
2) You must open this table. To do this, type:
in the command window. For example you could type:
This way dBASE knows which table the data will be imported into.
3) You will then use the APPEND FROM command to bring your data into the open table.
If your data is in a *.CSV format, then all you need to do is use the following command in the command window:
APPEND FROM <filename> TYPE DELIMITED
For example you could type:
APPEND FROM mydata.txt TYPE DELIMTED
This format is probably the most common. Each character field in the data is surrounded by double quotes ("). Numeric and Date fields are not and these fields are seperated by comma's. (,)
Each record is identified by the use of a carriage return/linefeed at the end of the line. In essence, a single line in this file format is the same as a single record in the table.
Files in this format usually have either a .TXT or .CSV extension in the filename.
If your data is in a *.SDF format, then all you need to do is use the following command in the command window:
APPEND FROM <filename> TYPE SDF
For example you could type:
APPEND FROM mydata.txt TYPE SDF
This format is the next most common for text data. In this case all the data is 'padded out' with spaces so that all the fields end up in columns.
Just as in the DELIMITED style of file format each record is identified by the use of a carriage return/linefeed at the end of the line.
NOTE: Currently there is a problem with the BDE version which ships with Visual dBASE 7.01 (BDE version 4.51) which doesn't allow importation of date information from a text file.
Q: How do I export data from a dBASE table to a text file?
A: Exporting data from dBASE to a text file is handled through the COPY TO command.
Like the APPEND FROM command, there are a number of ways to use this command. Here we are only interested in it's most basic use. Once you understand how to use this command, you can go to your on-line help for further details on what can be accomplished with the COPY TO command.
In order to export data you must first be using the table from which the data will be exported. As before, you will be employing the USE command in the command window.
Once the table is in use, all you need to do is type the following command in the command window:
COPY TO <filename> TYPE DELIMITED
COPY TO Myexport.txt TYPE DELIMITED
This would result in a file being created in the current directory called Myexport.txt which would be in the DELIMITED or *.CSV format.
If we had wanted to export the data in the *.SDF format, we would have typed:
COPY TO Myexport.txt TYPE SDF
This would result in a file being created in the current directory called Myexport.txt which would be in the System Delimted or *.SDF format.
Those are the basics on how to import and export text data into a dBASE table. For further information consult the on-line help for the APPEND FROM and COPY TO commands.
QA/Tech Support Engineer