Tab-delimited file problems

Question: I'm having trouble reading files from SPSS or Excel. I save the file in Excel or SPSS as a text file and have tried saving in all formats (tab-delimited, comma, etc.). It always saves the data with tabs separating the column values. When I read the file in Winsteps, the tabs are translated into columns, thus producing every other row of empty columns. How do I get around this?

 

Answer: There are numerous ways round this difficulty.

 

(a) Use Winsteps to format your SPSS .sav file into a Winsteps file (use the Excel/RSSST pull-down menu in Winsteps).

 

(b) Use the Winsteps "setup" routine to format your Excel data.

Start Winsteps "setup" (Setup pull-down menu in Winsteps)

Copy the cells you want from Excel, paste them into the Data area of the Setup screen.

 

(c) Get Excel to write out a file without Tabs: "Save as" a ".prn" file. "Formatted text (space delimited)"

Before you do this, set all data columns widths to 1.

 

(d) Tell Winsteps the data are Tab separated: use DELIMITER= .... but this is tricky to get to work correctly.

 

(e) Edit your data file with Notepad. Replace all tabs with nothing. To "find" a Tab, highlight a Tab, copy it (ctrl+C), then paste it into the "find" box: ctrl+v.

 

(f) Use FORMAT= or MFORMS= to pick up every other column. This is tricky.

 

(g) Edit your data file with Notepad. Replace all tabs with a space. To "find" a Tab, highlight a Tab, copy it (ctrl+C), then paste it into the "find" box: ctrl+v. Press the space bar in the "replace" box. Use XWIDE=2

 

Tabs in the Data File

Data file looks like:

Winsteps reports:

Problem diagnosis:
Tabs in the data file

Edit the data file in NotePad

Highlight a tab with the mouse

NotePad Edit menu:

Copy the tab (Ctrl+c)

NotePad Edit menu:

Replace (Ctrl+h)

Find what: Ctrl+v (Paste)

 

Box character is a Tab

Replace with:
Press space bar

Replace All

(This can be slow)

After Replace All

Save the data file: Ctrl+s


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