[EpiData-list] Importing data to Epidata (v.

EpiData development and support epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca
Wed Jun 24 08:57:34 CDT 2015

As far as I know you cannot change field type within Manager


On Jun 24, 2015 4:29 AM, EpiData development and support <epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca> wrote:
> Thank you very much Jamie, your help was indeed very helpful. I believe it 
> also makes sense to convert yes/no/NA cells to have a numerical value e.g. 
> 1,2,3 ? 
> Is there a way to change the field type afterwards other than touching the 
> XML code and if so, is it wise/dangerous? 
> Pekka 
> Jamie wrote: 
> > 
> > I have found that import from the clipboard works well if the Excel data 
> > are prepared for the import. Here is what I do. 
> > 
> > In Excel, format the columns they way you want them to appear in EpiData 
> > (text columns, numbers with set decimal places, dates as YYYY/MM/DD is 
> > best). 
> > I usually then format the columns to fit the data 
> > No spaces in your column names - these should be valid EpiData field names 
> > for consistency 
> > Make sure that the first and last rows of data are complete; I often put 
> > dummy data in these and then delete the records in EpiData. I believe the 
> > main thing here is to have valid data (not empty cells) in the last column 
> > of data for the first and/or last rows. 
> > Ideally, have no blank cells - put missing values in. This is probably not 
> > necessary, as EpiData handles empty cells well. 
> > 
> > 
> > You may find that fields are not the length that you want. You can safely 
> > edit these fields to change the size. Text, number and data fields should 
> > all come through with the correct type. 
> > 
> > I don?t know of any simple way to convert data for an Excel column to 
> > coded values with ?value labels?. Unless your data set is massive, there is 
> > no real penalty to keeping the values in full. 
> > 
> > When I had to automate repeated conversion of messy Excel data to EpiData, 
> > I made a new sheet within the Excel file and used formulas to put copies of 
> > the original data into the new sheet, with all of the cleaning. For 
> > example, we had some inconsistencies in coding province, so I used a lookup 
> > table to convert the original values (Ontario, Ont, ON) to be consistent 
> > (ON). This is one way to do your data coding, by the way, but you still 
> > cannot automate getting the value labels into EpiData. In my case, the data 
> > set was small and existing data might change, so I just kept importing the 
> > whole thing. You can also just convert the new data, import to a new 
> > EpiData project and then append this to your complete project. 
> > 
> > You will have problems with import from the clipboard if you have commas 
> > in your text fields. In my testing, the import fails without an error 
> > message. 
> > 
> > EpiData is very fussy about importing data, as it should be, since it does 
> > such a good job of maintaining the integrity of data when you use it for 
> > data entry. Import of csv data does work, but you have to be very sure to 
> > have clean data and to not have stray delimiters in your data. In any case, 
> > your data should be in good shape since it originates in a database (what 
> > database?? Maybe there is another more direct way to get into EpiData) 
> > --? 
> > Jamie 
> > 
> > Pekka wrote: 
> > What I want to do is to import a spreadsheet with field labels and data to 
> > Epidata. The spreasheet contains field names on the top row and records on 
> > the following rows. Once I have imported the initial data, I would like to 
> > ammend the records with additional fields, i.e. have the initial 
> > spreadsheet data as the seed data in records. I think this is a very normal 
> > practice to do, but I have run into several difficulties: 
> > 
> > 1. I have tried to import the spreadsheet with "File/Import file" but I 
> > don't seem to get it working. I have turned the spreasheet from Excel to 
> > CSV, but the dialogue box that opens doesn't recognize data. I made a 
> > workaround by copying a part of the spreadsheet and used "File/Import from 
> > clipboard" and that did work. The downside is that you have to do it part 
> > by part, and the fundamental problem is why it doesn't work in the first 
> > place. Is Epidata Manager very picky as to what field separators are used 
> > in CSV? I have tried changing field separators but with no luck. Clipboard 
> > seems to be the only workaround, but even still I have to do it in parts. 
> > (I am using Ubuntu and the latest Linux 64-bit version) 
> > 
> > 2. With the copy-paste method I noticed that Epidata was smartly able to 
> > interpret some fields with the right type (e.g. date, but not all 
> > date-fields, but I believe this is the issue of my spreadsheet), but not 
> > all. I have not discovered a way to change the field type afterwards, is it 
> > at all possible? The only hack I figured out was to manually change the 
> > field type in XML code directly, but I would be very hesitant to do it. If 
> > I touch XML code directly, will that mess up everything, or is it the 
> > simple fix to the problem? 
> > 
> > 3. Value-labels: My spreadsheet contains no value labels, obviously. It has 
> > for example field "Country of origin" and the value is string "Nepal". Is 
> > there a way for me to easily convert strings of text into value labels as a 
> > part of the import process? String values are consistent (the spreadsheet 
> > is an output file from a database), so I should imagine it would be 
> > possible do so. 
> > 
> > 4. Provided I get questions 1,2 and 3 adequately resolved, I should be fine 
> > with the initial data import. But what do I do if I want to later import 
> > additional records from the same spreadsheet structure to my Epidata 
> > project? Is this something that Append is supposed to do? There I have the 
> > same issue with the spreadsheet compatibility: The CSV file does not open 
> > in a recognisable way, hence I haven't been able to play around and test it 
> > either. 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
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