Manipulating ASCII Data Files

There are often occasions when you want to look at, or manipulate an ASCII data file:

  1. To get a quick look at the data,  to see what it is like and evaluate whether you can use.
  2. To fix problems.

Always keep a copy of the data file in case you make a mistake.

You will have to decide if the data is delimited (commas or tabs are most common, with tabs tricky to recognize), or fixed width.  The import wizards in Excel and Matlab do a good job of figuring this out.

Problems you might have to address:

You have several options if you want to edit the file:

  1. Notepad or Wordpad
  2. Word
  3. Excel

last revised 1/14/2015