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Chapter 7: Importing Text

CaseWare IDEA 10 Tutorials

Chapter 7: Importing Text Transcript

Previously, we looked at importing an Access database into IDEA. The goal of this section is to learn how to import text files. Remember all files, regardless of their source type, are imported using the Import Assistant.

Click the Desktop icon on the Home tab to launch the Import Assistant and select the appropriate file type from the list of options. In this case, we want Text – which is selected by default.

Click the browse button beside the file name field to open a dialog box where you can select the file you want to import. Select sales.txt. Click Open.

In the Import Assistant click Next. The Import Assistant – File Type screen appears and analyzes the data to try and determine what kind of text file it is. IDEA recognized three basic types – delimited or comma-separated, fixed length and EBCDIC fixed Length.

Verify that IDEA has chosen the correct type and click Next. In the Specify Record Length screen, verify the record length. When the length is calculated, any field delimiters are included in the length, but the record delimiters (typically a carriage return and line feed which appear at the end of the row) are not. If the information here is wrong, you can adjust it by using the toggle bars. When you’re happy with how this looks, click Next.

Here, you get a preview of the data and IDEA makes a guess where the records are. Click in the data window to add a line or double click an existing line to remove it. You can also click and hold to move an existing line.

When you are happy with where the record delimiter lines appear, click Next.

In the Field Details Screen, you define the fields by providing a name, data type and optional description of the field. For anything defined as a numeric data type, you need to specify the number of decimals if it’s other than zero. For Date and Time fields you must provide a mask. A mask tells IDEA which numbers in the date represent the day, which are the months and which are the year. If you are following along with the IDEA Tutorial, this information is in a grid on page 29.

When you have specified this information for all fields you wish to import, click Next.

You have the option to Create Fields during the file creation. We aren’t going to for this example so click Next.

You also have the option to Specify Criteria to limit the data that is imported. Again, we aren’t going to do this so click Next.

Finally, in the last screen you have the option to either link or import the data. Linking saves space but importing allows IDEA to run faster. You can opt to generate field statistics and to create a record number field if you wish. Select the Field Statistics box, but leave the record number field de-selected. A record definition will be created and saved for you by default. The record definition is an auxiliary file which stores the information about what the different field are, how long each field is, what the data types are and so on. These files can be reused so if you get a file with a similar structure on a regular basis – for example a monthly payroll statement, you only need to define this information once, then it can be reused each month when you get a new payroll file.

Finally, provide a name for your new database. I’m calling mine Sales Transactions. Click Finish to complete the import process. The file opens up in IDEA. In the Properties pane, click Control Total. There is only one numeric field in this database – AMOUNT, so select that to keep the sum available on the screen at all times.

When you’re finished, close the Sales Transactions database.


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