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I am trying to open an ASCII file. The provider of the file says it's my responsibility to figure it out. The first 10 lines of the file (using linux command "head -10 file.txt") are included below. I assumed the file would be just pure text, as most companies I've dealt with do when they say ASCII. It's simply a data dump from their database which appears to be Oracle. I was expecting a delimited text file like so:

Delimited    File    123    123    123    123    Delimited

Question: How can I convert the "ASCII" file to a readable format?

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                                   8|FñÕ¤ßcÈQpMdÓ¢]ëÕlA±6%ì^+kÞìÆD>q:ýTÆçzáä"]8Ë                                                                                                                                                             %hÃ"l1xÓ§Q§J=JQ6Ôãâ¬aÃÊV5IÙ5©ÒCcÔÈÇ
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      H'G@´!¥"R@PyÂý*R$1[2'Ãß9
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    rpEÏ9ñA@
OXQaÔG±DKXA$6Ñ_ÿ8`G6L
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  • Just a note, the gibberish you are seeing is the data itself after it is encoded into UNICODE. Unicode preserves ASCII values, so you can read valid ASCII characters in Unicode. Since the text doesn't make any sense, that indicates that the file probably does not contain ASCII encoded text data. – Frank Thomas Mar 5 '16 at 3:09
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Try the command

file file.txt

it should tell you the actual file format.

  • It says "compress'd data 16 bits" – Caleb Pitman Mar 5 '16 at 0:46
  • This actually lead me to the answer! Thank you Lucio! After researching the output of this, I found that the file was compressed. I'm so dumb... :( – Caleb Pitman Mar 5 '16 at 0:51
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    @fixer1234 It does answer: the procedure to open any file is finding its format and then using the correct tool to open it. The OP was missing the first part of finding the file format. You can give a man a fish or you can teach a man to fish. What's the best? – Lucio Crusca Mar 6 '16 at 15:12

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