Total Legal Accounting 3
APPENDIX B - FORMATTING ASCII EXPORT FIELDS
Virtually all files in T.L.A. can be exported to ASCII. This is a standard format understood by all utility programs, such as Spreadsheets, Databases and Word-processors. This gives you the flexibility to format reports, etc. in ways not otherwise available in T.L.A.
ASCII files are defined as flat files containing only uncompressed, alphanumeric data, one record per line with <CR> or <CR> <LF> at the end of each line. Within this structure it is still possible to choose the format of each field. Each program within HiFinance allows you to access a screen, which sets the defaults for these options. The screen is always accessed by <F9> and is global to all ASCII programs.
It is advised that you give the export file a name ending in .CSV to make programs such as Excel automatically understand the format. It is possible to call them what you like but you have to go through extra steps to import them into programs like Excel. The default name is normally the data file name with .CSV replacing .DAT and the directory initially defaults to your normal data directory. You can change it from this, as required.
When using DOS based installations (including MS-Windows) you should limit the names of directories to 8 characters without any imbedded spaces. This is a limitation in some version of Windows but is not a limitation in Unix. If T.L.A. finds that the operating system rejects the name, an error will be displayed and you will need to start the export procedure again. In either case, do not imbed spaces. T.L.A. will truncate any characters after the first space it finds as spaces confuse most operating systems, even the ones that purport to work correctly with long file names (including Windows and Unix).
It is not advisable to save the export into the root directory. This can clutter the file system and cause errors in other programs. Create a new directory (folder) and save the export to that. Eg a bad name would be c:\EXPORT.csv a better name would be c:\dload\EXPORT.csv. Remember to create c:\dload first.
The list of options is as follows:
SURROUND ALPHA FIELDS WITH QUOTATION MARKS Some applications require quotation marks " around alpha-numeric fields, eg. names. To force HiFinance to do this, enter a Y here.
SURROUND NUMERIC FIELDS WITH QUOTATION MARKS Some applications require quotation marks " around numeric fields, eg. dollar values. To force HiFinance to do this, enter a Y.
SEPARATE FIELDS WITH A SPACE If it is necessary to leave a space between fields, enter Y here, otherwise HiFinance will not leave spaces between export fields. This function is sometimes referred to as space delimited. It is rarely used by itself.
SEPARATE FIELDS WITH A COMMA Most word-processor and spreadsheet programs require a comma between each successive field. This is referred to as comma delimited. If your application does not require a comma, enter N here.
REMOVE REDUNDANT SPACES FROM ALPHA FIELDS Word-processors normally accept alphanumeric fields blindly. This can leave unnecessary spaces in a mail merge. To avoid this, enter Y here. HiFinance will then remove all leading and trailing spaces from alphanumeric fields when they are export. This procedure is more time consuming and should not be used if it is not required. Furthermore, some older spreadsheet programs, eg. LOTUS V2.2, become confused by varying field lengths. For these programs, you must always answer N.
REMOVE REDUNDANT SPACES FROM NUMERIC FIELDS This question is similar to the previous one but relates to numeric fields only, eg. dollar values. As with the previous question, you should normally answer Y for word-processors and N for spreadsheets.
SHOW ALL DIGITS IN DATE FIELDS Certain spreadsheet programs, eg Excel V7 and above, have a bug that causes them to read 1/01/2001 as an alpha-field rather than as a date. To work around this bug, T.L.A. can be told to export the field with all leading digits exposed, i.e. 01/01/2001. If you experience this problem, answer Y in for this option, otherwise it is preferable to leave it as N.
INCLUDE HEADING IN FIRST LINE OF EXPORT If you intend to use the export for mail-merge purposes, it is preferable to head each export with the name of the field. HiFinance will export a unique, and consistent, name for you to use, if you enter a Y here. For spreadsheet programs, the headings do not usually get in the way.