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I have a large text file and I want to open it so that it appears as columns in excel 2003. When i open it though the columns are lost and its all one horizontal line? Help

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migrated from Jul 16 '10 at 5:24

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What happened to the 1.5 Gb Excel 2003 file that was concerning you only about a day ago ( You have not responded to questions from people trying to help you ... – John Machin Jul 14 '10 at 21:27
The SO community shakes its collective finger at you!!! – Abe Miessler Jul 14 '10 at 22:19
@novak You need to learn to use the "edit" button to edit your question. Doing so will cause it to appear at the top of the list of recent questions on the main SO page. Asking the question again with a slightly different wording only irritates the community and creates work for the moderators who have to clean up the duplicate questions. You have several people trying to help you on each of your questions (one of them even wrote the library you are using!) please try to provide them with meaningful and thoughtful responses to their questions. "It doesn't work" is useless to us. – Chris Thompson Jul 15 '10 at 0:01

It will depend on what version of excel you are using. The basic idea of what you need to do is:

Open a blank Excel doc->Click Data->Import data (Or "Get External Data")->From Text->select the file

Once in there you will use the wizard to specify what the columns are delimited by and it will open the data as a spread sheet.

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THe problem with that is the file is too large and it doesn't open completely. – novak Jul 14 '10 at 19:24
How big is your file? – Abe Miessler Jul 14 '10 at 20:03
It's probably the same 1.5 GB "Excel 2003 XLS" file he was asking about yesterday but won't reveal any details ... – John Machin Jul 14 '10 at 21:54
@John Machin I really hope it's something top secret... – Chris Thompson Jul 15 '10 at 0:09

If the file is too large to be opened in Excel 2003 (which has some rather severe limits, like a maximum of 256 columns, that I have run into myself several times), and if it's not really an Excel file anyway but rather a (possibly nonstandard) CSV file, then take a look at CSVed.

alt text

This utility can open most any text file with tabular data and help you modify it, for example transforming it into a "real" CSV file. And it's equipped to deal with really large files, too.

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Nice tip! I hadn't seen this software before, it looks super handy! – nhinkle Jul 16 '10 at 7:27

Try giving it a .csv extension, and see if it parses it differently. If not, you're most likely going to have to write a macro to import it, or something like regular expressions to insert commas everywhere before you do.

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Can you give me some more detail on how to do either of those things? – novak Jul 14 '10 at 19:11
@novak: If you would actually answer questions about the structure of the file, we could help you. So far you have asked 5 SO questions about what seems to be the same 1.5 GB file but we are nowhere near getting more than vague clues about the file structure. – John Machin Jul 14 '10 at 21:57
@novak - Yes, if you can give me more detail on the file you need to open. – Daniel Rasmussen Jul 14 '10 at 22:03

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