Importing files

In honor of my NCLA presentation I’m going to talk this week about something that I’d previously mentioned, but not addressed: importing files from other formats.

I talked previously about comma separated (CSV) and tab delimited values. These formats come up more often than you’d think. As a librarian I encounter them when trying to download information from an electronic resource like North Carolina’s Economic Development Intelligence System, and on the personal/household side I see them when I want to download my credit card transaction history.

Also, what if you have a file that was created in Open Office Calc (.ods) or Microsoft Works (.wks/.xlr) and you only have Excel (.xls/.xlsx) on your system? Or vice-versa? There’s a lot of different ways this could happen, ranging from friends/coworkers to borrowed/updated computers.

Fortunately, most programs make it pretty easy to import any sort of file they recognize as a valid format. This can fail when going from a newer program to an older program, but that’s something I’ll address later. I’ll also discuss .txt files later, because they generally offer a lot of different options when being imported.

In Excel 97:

  1. Click on the File menu header.
  2. In the menu that appears, click on “Open…”.
  3. Near the bottom of the dialog box, change the box labelled “Files of type:” to the appropriate option. If you’re not sure, choose “All Files (*.*)”. (You might have to scroll up to see that options, since it’s the first one.)
  4. Navigate to the right directory.
  5. Click on the name of the file you want to open.
  6. Click on the “Open” button.

In Excel 2007:

  1. Click on the Office button (It’s the circle in the upper left corner, with the colored squares in it.)
  2. In the menu that appears, click on “Open”.
  3. Near the bottom of the dialog box, change the box labelled “Files of type:” to the appropriate option. If you’re not sure, choose “All Files (*.*)”. (You might have to scroll up to see that options, since it’s the first one.)
  4. Navigate to the right directory.
  5. Click on the name of the file you want to open.
  6. Click on the “Open” button.

In Google Spreadsheet:

  1. Click on the File menu header.
  2. Click on “Import…”
  3. Click on “Browse”
  4. Navigate to the right directory.
  5. Click on the name of the file you want to open.
  6. Click on the “Open” button.

In OpenOffice Calc:

  1. Click on the File menu header.
  2. In the menu that appears, click on “Open…”.
  3. Near the bottom of the dialog box, the box labelled “Files of type:” defaults to “All Files (*.*)”. You can leave it as that, or change it to something more specific.
  4. Navigate to the right directory.
  5. Click on the name of the file you want to open.
  6. Click on the “Open” button.

In Microsoft Works Spreadsheet:

  1. Click on the File menu header.
  2. In the menu that appears, click on “Open…”.
  3. Near the bottom of the dialog box, change the box labelled “Files of type:” to the appropriate option. If you’re not sure, choose “All Files (*.*)”.
  4. Navigate to the right directory.
  5. Click on the name of the file you want to open.
  6. Click on the “Open” button.
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