File Menu – Export As
Tab-Delimited File

Tab-delimited Basics

Tab-delimited files are plain-text files that have fields ending in the tab character and records ending in an end-of-line symbol or paragraph marker (linefeed/newline character, carriage return character, or carriage return-linefeed pair).

The tab-delimited format is widely used to move data among database applications, each of which has its own native file format, but which can export and import files in this format.

A common convention is that a tab-delimited file can be exported with a new first record that contains the name of each field in that field. iData supports this convention by permitting you to specify that you want your exported file to add a first record that contains the field names.

One problem with tab-delimited files is that, since they use the paragraph marker to indicate the end of a record, text that contains paragraph markers, such as iData's Freeform Text Area commonly does, cannot be embedded within records. As a result, when an iData datafile is exported as a tab-delimited file, only text from fields is included. Text from the Freeform Text Area is not included.

One other issue is the question of the appropriate end-of-line symbol. There are three common "standards":

         1. Mac OS X uses the Linux standard, the "linefeed" character. (Also called the "newline" character--mostly by programmers.)

         2. Earlier version of the Mac operating system used the "return" or "carriage return" character.

         3. Windows uses a combination of "carriage return" and "linefeed" (in that order).

As a result, if you are sending a tab-delimited file to someone who is using a different system, it's best to specify which style of end-of-line symbol to use. (Although, many applications--including iData--can handle all three styles.)

NOTE: iData export functions work only on selected records. Therefore, if you have been viewing only a partial selection of the records in a datafile, but wish to export all of the records, you must first choose All Records from the Select menu, to ensure that all records in the datafile are in the selected state.

To Export a tab-delimited file:

         1. Select Tab-delimited File... from the Export sub-menu under the File menu.

         2. The following sheet will appear:

          3. If desired, enable the Include field names in first record checkbox.

          4. If exporting a tab-delimited file that is to be imported into the Address Book, enable the Export only field content checkbox.

          5. Select the radio button for the type of end-of-line symbol you want the new file to use.

          6. If exporting for the Address Book under OS 10.4.x (Tiger), select the 8-bit Unicode (UTF-8) radio button.

          7. Click the OK button.

         8. In the Save dialog that comes up next, navigate to the folder where you want to save the new file, and click the Save button. You may rename the file first, if you wish. Depending on where the new file is going to be used, you may prefer it to have either .tab or .txt as a file name extension. iData tacks on both, just to remind you of your choices.

 Return to Main Help Page