A file of exported data consists of lines of data: within each line are data for a single sample. What data are included, and the order in which the data are listed, is determined by the export configuration file. These files are very similar to the ones used to create printed summaries, except that export files do not have titles, figure numbers, page headings, font selection options or margins.
To create a configuration file to use for exporting data, begin by clicking on the Exported data tab in the top right-hand corner of the screen. The screen will change slightly, omitting selections that apply only to printed summaries, and including a few new ones, discussed below:
Column separator character (.TXT exports only)
Normally, data items within an export file are separated by commas. For instance, the following is a line taken from an export file of Grain-Size sieve percentages:
However, when including text such as project names or material descriptions, the exported text may itself include a comma. Exporting this data causes the resulting data file to be confusing; for example, the following two lines were extracted from an export file of material descriptions and Atterberg limits:
Silty Sand, 32, 20
Clayey, Silty Sand, 46, 15
The extra comma in the second line would confuse a program attempting to import the GDM export file. To avoid this situation, the user can elect to change the separator character to a TAB: this character is universally recognized by programs designed for importing ASCII data.
First row has column titles
Many database programs that feature importing of ASCII text data (for example, Microsoft Access), can be configured so that they accept the first line of the imported text file to be the field names for the columns of imported data. Similarly, spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel can be set up to use the first line of an imported text file as the column headings for the data being imported.
- If the "first row has column titles" option is desired, make sure to type in something in response to the Column title box in the for each item of data that you place on the table. Note that if the data to be exported will be used with a database program, than the column title should always be a single word (e.g.
Sample Number) because database field names are always a single word.
Surround each item with quotes
If you need to create export files delimited with columns (and cannot select the TAB separator), you need to make sure that the data included in your export files does not include embedded commas (such as
Clayey, Silty Sand) because the commas in your data will be mistaken for the commas used to separate items of data within the file. You can avoid this problem by checking the Surround each item with quotes box, which will add quotes at the start and end of each item of data included in the export file -- by quoting your data, you allow the program importing your data to distinguish a comma used as part of your data from the comma used to separate data items --
Clayey, Silty Sand, 46, 15
"Clayey, Silty Sand", "46", "15"
This box is discussed here.
These options are discussed here.