Importing and Exporting Data
The required procedures for printing most of the common reports that you will
need to run are very similar to what has just been described on the preceding
pages. It is simply a matter of defining the proper search criteria within an
existing SelFil, or designing a new SelFil with the Selection Filter Editor, then
choosing the report you need from the list of available report formats.
As stated earlier, all of the report formats within Univers are user-generated. If
there is an existing report format that will do what you need it to do, or if a
particular format would suit your needs well enough with minor modification, then
take advantage of the reporting functions of the Univers program. If, however,
you should need to design a report unlike anything that currently exists in your
format library, there are other options besides designing one from scratch from
While it is entirely possible to design a new custom-made report format with
Univers, the procedure for doing so is much more cumbersome and involved
than many of the more popular document-generation programs currently
available. This stands to reason, since Univers is best used as an evaluation
and assessment tool, and a database retrieval system, not a word-processor.
Moreover, why would we want to try to re-invent the wheel, when many excellent
software programs for manipulating data into a report format such as Microsoft®
Word®, Excel® and Access® already exist?
Furthermore, since one or more of these programs are generally already present
within the office environment of the typical Univers user, it is quite likely that you
already possess the necessary skills to do so. For this reason, should the need
arise for a customized report, it is suggested that you set up a SelFil and
EXPORT the necessary data in the form of either a fixed-length or delimited file
for use with one of the aforementioned software titles.
Fixed Length vs. Delimited Files
If we wanted to extract data from a database program, we certainly would not
want the individual pieces of data to just be spit out in one long continuous string,
since it would be exceedingly difficult to work with something like:
PUBLICJOHNQ123MAINSTANYTOWNUSA. Therefore, for the sake of
organization, the individual pieces of data are generally separated somehow
when they are exported. One method is to export the data in individual “chunks”
or “packets,” with a pre-determined number of characters in each chunk. When
this method is employed, the resulting output is known as a FIXED LENGTH FILE.