Q

Migrating from MS Works database

Office suites expert Solveig Haugland describes how to update data in a text database to migrate files from MS Works to OpenOffice.

I wanted to know if it was possible to update a text database. How do I populate a new database from a comma-separated text file easily, in order to migrate from the MS Works database?

You can create the database based on comma-separated text files in OpenOffice.org by choosing File > New > Database,

choosing to connect to an existing source, and choosing text files. Then, click "Next" and fill in the directory where the text files are. Each text file will become a table in the database. Be sure to fill in the other fields in the window as well, including the separators.

Updates to the text file will be reflected in the database in OpenOffice.org. You can update the text files in a text editor. Be sure the .odb database file is closed when you edit the text files.

You could also open the comma-separated text files in OpenOffice.org Calc. Make certain that you select the "Text CSV" file type option after you choose File > Open in the dropdown list. Creating a spreadsheet from the text files makes it easier to continue to enter and change the information, since a spreadsheet is generally easier to navigate around in than a text file.

To create a database based on spreadsheets, use the same approach: Choose File > New > Database,. Choose to connect to an existing source, but select Spreadsheet. Then click Next and select the spreadsheet. All sheets in the spreadsheet will become tables in the database.

Using a comma-separated text file output or spreadsheets based on those text files is definitely a quick way to convert to OpenOffice.org Base. Databases based on text, spreadsheets or address books are limited in some ways. You don't have all the features of OpenOffice.org's Base, such as the ability to write to the sources from data entry forms.

This was first published in February 2006

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