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How to Convert a List to a Different Format


Tab-Indented files can be easily converted to and from the 'FlatFile' format with the Tab-List Tools program. You can also convert tab-Indented files to the Comma-Separated Values (CSV) format, or to data suitable for entering into a database. Examples are: 


Tab-Indented Format:


[7-01 WEDDING]


        Best Man

        Best Person


FlatFile Format:


[7-01 WEDDING]



[7-01 WEDDING]>[PARTICIPANT]>Best Person


CSV Format:


"[7-01 WEDDING]","",""


"[7-01 WEDDING]","[PARTICIPANT]","Best Man"

"[7-01 WEDDING]","[PARTICIPANT]","Best Person"


SQL Format:


"1","0","[7-01 WEDDING]"


"3","2","Best Man"

"4","2","Best Person"


To try this out, click 'Tools > Testing' to load a suitable tab-indented test-list, or load one of your own. Click 'Tools > Convert' to view the Conversion Page.


The 'Delimiter Character' panel lets you choose which delimiter character you wish to be used when creating a flatfile or CSV list, from a range of the usual choices. You can choose to delete any brackets from your file whilst converting, by checking the 'Delete Brackets' check-box. Once you have done that, you can choose whether to delete all brackets, or a certain type of brackets, with the re-enabled radio-buttons.


The 'CSV Enclosing Characters' allow you to choose which type of characters to use when converting your tab-indented list to CSV format. The final panel 'CSV Options' lets you choose whether or not to add enclosing-characters to empty cells: some programs insist on this, whilst others do not like it.


You can also convert a tab-indented list into a format that is suitable for importing into a database. The table-structure to hold a hierarchy is very simple: for each record you need an ID, the ID of its Parent (if it has one), and the text. Every item in the list has a Parent ID except the Root item, which is given a Parent ID of 0. To generate the data from your list, select a comma as a delimiter character, delete brackets if you wish, and choose suitable Enclosing Characters, then click the 'Tab-Indented to SQL' button.