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The Net Takeaway: Great CSV File Tool

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Great CSV File Tool · 03/29/2004 10:22 AM, Analysis

From that category of software that just does what you need it to do comes CSVdb 4.4.1 (about halfway down).

We often are handed data or extracts and its in a difficult to use (or completely undocumented) format.

Lots of people like to use Excel to open CSV or Tab-delimited files, but that’s a huge mistake. Excel has some auto-formatting tricks which will bite you when you least expect it. The classic case is ZIP codes, where the leading 0 is often dropped. (Yes, the better way to have ZIP codes is as a string/varchar, not a number, which would mean quoting in the file, but not everyone is as smart as you, so be nice). Other issues include the 65,536 rows by 256 columns limit, the 255 characters per cell limit, etc (BTW, these are all in the Excel Help; search for “limits”).

So, you gotta look at or modify a file, and you need to do it somewhat visually and/or you can’t write Perl or Judoscript. What to do? Well, CSVdb is a Delphi windows app which is basically a CSV grid with lots of tools on it. You can open the file, search and replace, modify layout, merge columns, sort, all the good stuff, and then output with new delimiters if you wish.

It uses virtual memory for large files, it can dedupe, it can export into word or html… the list goes on. Very cool.

Are there problems? Sure, its somewhat slow (blame Borland), and its not open source. But its cardware, so that price is totally fair. A very, very useful little app.

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