Importing data - file formats (v7)

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Manual: v7 - Pages 132-133

It is not documented, but somewhere up until v7.01 the text format for input was plain ASCII. Unheralded in any clear sense, in v7.0.4 this changed to Unicode - or more precisely UTF-8 or UTF-16.

Extensis' KB article #2802213 states re version 7 only:

Portfolio uses the native system encoding for the Import Field Values feature; Roman in Mac OS X or ISO-8859-1 in Windows. In Windows, we also support UTF-16 (big and little-endian) but not UTF-8. In Mac OS X, we also support UTF-8 and UTF-16 (big and little-endian). On both platforms, Portfolio only interprets the file as Unicode if it has the correct BOM (byte-order marker) at the front. Otherwise the default system encoding is assumed.

For most users this will read as techno-babble. So, what does it really mean? The acronyms quoted are all to do with the way "text" - as we read it on screen - is stored in a file so other computers can read it correctly. English language users don't normally meet this as they don't use accents or additional letters but in many other languages accents or new or different characters need to be correctly recorded and displayed. The umbrella term for this sort of encoding is 'Unicode' and like so much in computing - there are many and varied standards: UTF-2, UTF-8, etc. Don't worry too much about the exact meaning of this terminology but pay attention to the choices cited below. Use these and you should be OK. In either OS, don't use the basic OS options for creating text files; they may import without an error message but you will discover - usually too late - that only some fields have been imported correctly.

On Windows, if saving - or creating and saving - text files for Portfolio input in a tool like Notepad then you must use the 'Unicode' option; in Windows this equates to a coding called 'UTF-16' though you won't see that name in Notepad.

Mac users with TextEdit should first of all make their text file plain text (Format menu) but then save as 'UTF-8' or 'UTF-16'. To work cross-platform, Mac users should opt for the 'UTF-16' option.

It is to be hoped Extensis will issue suitable instructions for the non-tech user in due course.

Keywords (to assist indexing/searching): file import UTF Unicode

Question: Importing data - file formats (v7) [FAQ00371.htm]
Last Update:- 31 May 2006

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