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Import and Export Tools

Delimited Data Format

Suppose you have a record with LASTNAME = "Smith", FIRSTNAME = "Jane", AGE = "36". In delimited data format, you choose a delimiter character to place between field values. Let's use a comma as the delimiter character.

A comma (",") is then inserted between each of a record's fields, to "delimit" them. The resulting record, exported in comma-delimited format, would look like:


Groups of records are exported line-by-line, one line after another. A file of records in comma-delimited format might look like:

    USER,TEST,1 GREEN LANE,,,Amherst,NH,03012
    JONES,SUSAN,30 Plaza Court,,,San Francisco,CA,94105
    SMITH,JOE,90 123rd St.,,,San Francisco,CA,94112

In order to use delimited data format, both applications (the exporting application and the importing application) must be able to recognize the format.

Quoted Fields in Delimited Format

Now suppose in the previous example that instead of two separate fields for LASTNAME and FIRSTNAME, there is only a single NAME field for both. Suppose that incoming data you want to place in the single NAME field comes in the form SMITH,JOE, but you still want to use commas as your delimiter. You can use the "Fields Quoted" setting in the Import form (or the Quote Non-Numeric Fields setting in a Foreign Format) to ignore the delimiter if it is between quotes in the incoming data.

Thus, if you set "Fields Quoted" to YES in your import form, and you pass in a record that looks like:

    "SMITH,JOE",90 123rd St.,,,San Francisco,CA,94112

For quoted fields, like "SMITH,JOE", the Import Tool will ignore the comma delimiter in-between the quotes and treat "SMITH,JOE" as a single field value.


Reviewed/Updated: March 4, 2007