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Parsing Data with Lotus

Parsing Data with Lotus

The (MENU) Data Parse command is a fast, easy way to extract separate items of data from a long string of text. The command looks complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes easy to use. To show some of the things you can do with the parse command, assume you have the following string of data items in one cell:

3/21/95 1:10PM PhoneLog 7.56 (515) 248-7500

Put the cell cursor on the string of data and press (MENU) Data, Parse, Format-line, Create. The format-line, created behind the "box" displayed on the screen, will push the rest of the list down one row. That's all right, you can simply delete the format-line when the parsing is finished. Then press Input-Column, (.) (the period key in this case), (<DownArrow>), and (ENTER). (When working with a group of "long labels", press (.) and highlight all the long labels and the format-line.) Then press Output-Range (<DownArrow>) (<DownArrow>) to use a cell that is a couple of rows beneath the data line for the Output-Range. Press GO and see what you get.

It may not be what you expect in all cases. The date column and the time column are shown as raw numbers. PhoneLog is OK, as is the number 7.56. However the phone number is misinterpreted as a negative number. To correct this, put the cursor on the format line and press (MENU) Data, Parse, Format-Line, Edit. Change the V>>>>*L>> to L>>>>>>>>>>>> and then press Go again.

Use (MENU) Range Format Date 4 to format the date field and (MENU) Range Format Date Time 2 to format the time field. You'll have to put the cell cursor in the cell that contains the phone number and use the command (MENU) Worksheet Column Set to widen the phone number field. Following is what the row of data will look like after each step in the conversion process:

--Original Label--

' 3/21/95 1:10PM PhoneLog 7.56 (515) 248-7500

--After Parsing--

34779 0.548611 PhoneLog 7.56 -515 248-7500

--After Editing and Formatting--

03/21/95 01:10 PM PhoneLog 7.56 (515) 248-7500

In the format-line, the D stands for a date field; T stands for a Time field; L stands for a Label field; V stands for a value field; > (the greater than sign) indicates the continuation of a field; * (the asterisk) stands for blank spaces that may be part of data in the next field. You may use the Format-line Edit command and change any of these "field designator" to correct any "faux pas" committed by the data parser.

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