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Parsing a comma delimited text file to a string

Posted on 2008-06-25
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Last Modified: 2013-12-20
I have a routine text file that is supplied in comma delimited format.  Each field is set off with quotation "" marks; however, the total columns are all grouped together in quotation marks, but are seperated with commas inside the quotation marks.  I need to split these fields into an array so I can append to a table.  I have attached my code that I am using to split the data, but I need something that goes inside the quotation marks and splits the data inside the quote marks.  Keep in mind, I do have several circumstances where a last name and first name are together in quotation marks that need to have a comma between.  A sample of my data is:

Sample:
"Brown, John", "05/12/09", "111.32, 3432.11, 6325.21, 29383.22", "BP"

Code:

    Do Until objFile.AtEndOfStream
    StrFile = objFile.ReadLine
    StrFile = Replace(StrFile, Chr(34), "")
    ArrFile = Split(StrFile, ",")
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Question by:OB1Canobie
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9 Comments
 
LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:zhuba
Comment Utility
You'll probably need a regex to make sure that it only parses commas that aren't already enclosed in quotation marks.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms974570.aspx and http://www.brettb.com/VBScriptRegularExpressions.asp for a brief intro

You'll want a regex along the lines of """[^""]+""," - which is "[^"]+", but with the quotations doubled so that they get converted to a string properly.

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Author Comment

by:OB1Canobie
Comment Utility
The problem is that I also need commas parsed inside quotation marks, however, all fields that are inside quotation marks that need to be parsed are numeric.
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Expert Comment

by:zhuba
Comment Utility
I'm assuming you want your data

"Brown, John", "05/12/09", "111.32, 3432.11, 6325.21, 29383.22", "BP"

to turn into a list of:

"Brown, John"
 "05/12/09"
"111.32, 3432.11, 6325.21, 29383.22"
"BP"

If you use the regex engine, it searches for the pattern "[^"]+", which breaks down as follows:

" - opening quotation mark
[^"]+ - [^"] means any character except " and the + means any number of characters
" - the closing quotation mark
, - the comma before the next entry.

This will iterate to the end but skip the last entry, which you can then find by searching "[^"]+" in the end bit.
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Author Comment

by:OB1Canobie
Comment Utility
I'm trying to get to the following output:

Brown, John   > Field 1
05/12/09 > Field 2
111.32 > Field 3
3432.11 > Field 4
6325.21 > Field 5
29383.22 > Field 6
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:zhuba
Comment Utility
This is a little more complicated. Since you only need to split by commas within quotation marks when using non-numeric values, you're probably best to split by " first, then remove the commas between the quotes every second entry, then go through and check for numeric characters in the string and if there are then split again by comma.
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Accepted Solution

by:
RobSampson earned 500 total points
Comment Utility
Hi, from I see, things could be complicated, but could hopefully be simplified.

Basically, from this:
"Brown, John", "05/12/09", "111.32, 3432.11, 6325.21, 29383.22", "BP"

you have a definition of five fields, being:
"Brown, John"
"05/12/09"
"111.32, 3432.11, 6325.21, 29383.22"
"BP"

From your last "ideal" scenario, it will be too difficult to say that "Brown, John" is to remain together, but "111.32, 3432.11, 6325.21, 29383.22" is to be split up, UNLESS "Brown, John" was *always* the first field, and "111.32, 3432.11, 6325.21, 29383.22" was *always* the third field.

Here is some code:
'==============
strFile = objFile.ReadLine
If Left(strFile, 1) = """" Then strFile = Mid(strFile, 2)
If Right(strFile, 1) = """" Then strFile = Left(strFile, Len(strFile) - 1)
arrFields = Split(strFile, """, """)
MsgBox Join(arrFields, VbCrLf)
'==============

that will give you this, in an Array:
Brown, John
05/12/09
111.32, 3432.11, 6325.21, 29383.22
BP

So, Brown, John is arrFields(0) and 111.32, 3432.11, 6325.21, 29383.22 is arrFields(2)

So, you could then loop through the array, and say that arrFields(0) is going to be in cell 1, but arrFields(2) is going to be split by the comma, and placed accordingly.....

You could also do this:
'=================
strFile = objFile.ReadLine
If Left(strFile, 1) = """" Then strFile = Mid(strFile, 2)
If Right(strFile, 1) = """" Then strFile = Left(strFile, Len(strFile) - 1)
arrFields = Split(strFile, """, """)
arrAllFields = Split(Join(arrFields, ", "), ", ")
MsgBox Join(arrAllFields, VbCrLf)
'=================

where arrAllFields now contains the elements:
Brown
John
05/12/09
111.32
3432.11
6325.21
29383.22
BP

So you could decide what to do with it then as well....

Regards,

Rob.
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:sr75
Comment Utility
if the third field is the only field on each line that you want to parse inside the quotes, then you can also use this as you loop through the text file:

strFile = objFile.ReadLine
Cnt = 1
If Left(strFile, 1) = """" Then strFile = Mid(strFile, 2)
If Right(strFile, 1) = """" Then strFile = Left(strFile, Len(strFile) - 1)
arrFields = Split(strFile, """, """)

For i = 0 to ubound(arrFields)
      If i = 2 then
            arrNumFields = Split(arrFields(i), ", ")
            For x = 0 to ubound(arrNumFields)
                  List = List & "Field " & Cnt & vbtab & arrNumFields(x)
                        Cnt = Cnt +1
            Next
      Else
            List = List & "Field " & Cnt & vbtab & arrFields(i)
                Cnt = Cnt +1
      End If
Next

Wscript.echo  List
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Author Closing Comment

by:OB1Canobie
Comment Utility
Thanks Rob for your help.  This is what I was looking for.
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LVL 65

Expert Comment

by:RobSampson
Comment Utility
Thanks for the grade.

Regards,

Rob.
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