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6.4 The Import Wizard

The Import Wizard supports import of ASCII and simple Binary (an optional header section followed by a sequential binary structure) data files. If your data do not fall easily into one of those two categories, you can write your own Origin C code (User-Defined) to handle data import.

One of the chief advantages of using the Wizard to import your data files is that you can save your custom settings to a filter that can be used repeatedly to import the same or similarly-structured files. Once you've created your filter(s), subsequent files are easily imported by drag-and-drop or via the File: Open dialog box. Using wild cards, you can create file name specific filters that are narrowly targeted so that, for instance, certain import settings (in one filter) are used for handling some .DAT files while another suite of settings (in a second filter) is used to handle another group of .DAT files. When correctly defined, the filter "recognizes" which .DAT file(s) it is associated with, freeing you from having to remember which filter is appropriate for a particular data file.

The Import Wizard can also handle importing data into Origin via the Clipboard. This is particularly useful when grabbing data from a web page or when the need arises to bring data into Origin from another application whose files are not read by one of Origin's data import routines. Using the wizard's interactive data display panel (Data Columns page of the Import Wizard), you can control the parsing of Clipboard data, thereby ensuring the proper arrangement of data in your workbook or matrix book. In addition, it is possible to save Clipboard data import settings. This would allow you, for instance, to return to a web page week after week to collect newly posted data, without having to run all the pages in the wizard to parse the data each time. (When Origin imports from the Clipboard, we create a temporary file with the clipboard contents with an extension of TMP.)

Additional wizard features include the ability to extract variables from the import file name and header (for reuse in Origin), to specify custom delimiters and date formats, or to handle post-processing of your imported data using a custom LabTalk script.

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