Simply Salford Blog

A Quick Tip on Importing and Converting Data in SPM

Posted by Dan Steinberg on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 @ 09:44 AM

This note is a quick tip on getting around the “import data” function of SPM via the File…Open menu.  Suppose you start with this and see something like the following:
import data resized 600

Typically the “File of Type” will be set to the type you last used in the current or possibly previous session. But what if you now want to import a file of a different type? Naturally, you got to the pull-down menu and see this:

file type

This is great if you now see the type of file you want to import.  But the list of possible types is longer than will display fully in this window and it can be a bit tricky to navigate to the type you want.

The example that prompted this quick tip is the ASCII file type, which includes the most common .CSV format, but also anything stored as plain text.  ASCII is always positioned at the top of this alphabetically sorted list and is often out of view. If at this point instead of trying to scroll up the window I simply touch the letter “a” on the keyboard I will see:

alphabetical file display resized 600
and the ASCII file type is clearly in view.  This trick works for any file type; touching the “e” key will get you close to “Excel,” for example.  

If after opening the file of your choice successfully, you wish to save it to another format you need to run issue commands from a Notepad: SAVE and then RUN. To open the Notepad using the keyboard just press CTRL+N (control key and N key simultaneously) or from the File menu select “New Notepad.” Then issue the relevant commands using the typical file extension for the format you are converting to.

notepad spm resized 600Using the command processor for this type of file saving is actually the most convenient to accomplish this task.

Topics: SPM, beginner