Converting text into tables?

Subject: Converting text into tables?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "Techwr-L (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>, "'Paul Hanson'" <PHanson -at- Quintrex -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 15:13:35 -0400

Paul Hanson wants to create a table from <<...a text file of a directory
that is 42 pages long... I'm familiar with converting text to tables using
Word if you have a separator, but in this case, there is nothing to separate
the columns.>>

There has to be _something_ that separates the columns, otherwise you'd have
long rows of unspaced text: the example you provided seems to use groups of
five spaces to separate the data. Since you're already familiar with how to
do the conversion using separators, the key is to globally replace these
groups of spaces with appropriate separators using Word's search and replace
function. (If Word won't automatically create the table for me, I usually
replace the spaces with tabs, then create a table with the appropriate
number of rows and columns, then paste the text into the table. The tabs
force the columns of text data into the corresponding table columns.) If the
problem is a bit more complex, you might have to resort to pattern matching
(see the Word help index under "Searching" and "Wildcards"); the data in
each column may have a repeating pattern (e.g., a letter followed by five
numbers) that lets you identify the end of that column and insert a
separator.

<<Is there a way to... add a fifth column for a date formatted as
09/12/2000.>>

Yup. Once you've got the existing data imported into a table, position the
cursor to the right of the table (right next to the little squarish icon
that marks the end of the first row of data) and insert a new column from
the Table menu.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Technical writing... requires understanding the audience, understanding
what activities the user wants to accomplish, and translating the often
idiosyncratic and unplanned design into something that appears to make
sense."--Donald Norman, The Invisible Computer




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