How to change poorly formatted text into a usable database.
June 22, 2006 7:52 AM   Subscribe

I have a directory which is swell for printing, but I need it in a database.

The directory has regular information (name, address, city state zip, phone, fax, contact person, special codes) and in the text file there is a hard break after each item (name, address, city state zip, phone, fax, contact person) and an extra line break between entries. I can replace the hard breaks by hand (over 1k entries with 6+ items each), or the hive mind can show the smart way.
posted by Classic Diner to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What database? What editing tools do you have? Most databases will accept tab-delimited text.

If you open in MS Word, replace "^p^p" (two hard returns) with "##$$%%" (i.e., nonsense that is not naturally occurring). Then replace "^p" with "^t" (tab). Then replace "##$$%%" with "^p". Save as text, and import.
posted by deadfather at 8:16 AM on June 22, 2006

Or (duh) replace "^p" with "^t", then replace "^t^t" with "^p". All this presumes that there are no tabs in the document to begin with, which you should verify.
posted by deadfather at 8:20 AM on June 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

That is exactly what I was looking for, I didn't know about ^p and ^t. Thanks
posted by Classic Diner at 8:28 AM on June 22, 2006

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