Date: Mon, 5 Apr 2010 10:25:58 -0700
Reply-To: Jack Hamilton <jfh@STANFORDALUMNI.ORG>
Sender: "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Jack Hamilton <jfh@STANFORDALUMNI.ORG>
Subject: Re: Fixed Width file
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
"Fixed width ASCII file" usually means a text file in which all columns have the same width, and start in the same column, in every record. This is different from a delimited file such as CSV, where every column might have a different length or starting position in every record. Fixed width files are easier to read and write, and you don't have to worry about escaping the delimiter character, but they usually require more disk space than a delimited file.
"Text file" means that there are no non-text characters in the file. That means that numbers are represented in text form, not a binary coded form.
"ASCII" means that the characters are encoded using the ASCII standard (used on many PCs and most servers), not EBCDIC (used on IBM mainframes), or Unicode (also used on PCs and servers).
There are several versions of ASCII, so you want to know whether they mean ASCII-7 or one of the 8 bit versions.
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On Apr 5, 2010, at 9:49 am, Tom White wrote:
> What is it usually meant by the wording FIXED WIDTH ASCII file?