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st: Problem with embedded quotes in strings when using insheet

From   "David E Moore" <[email protected]>
To   [email protected]
Subject   st: Problem with embedded quotes in strings when using insheet
Date   Wed, 30 Mar 2005 18:30:22 -0800

I didn't notice this little "undocumented feature" in the faq for reading Excel
data, so I thought I'd see if anyone has a workaround.  Just so you know, I'm
leaning toward -file- to "solve" the problem, but it's quite a lot more work
than -insheet- ....

Here's the situation:

I write out a portion of the data currently held in memory, including some
string variable values, using -outsheet-.  Some of the strings have double
quotes (not always balanced) embedded in them.  (I know, I shouldn't have
allowed this in the first place.)  When I -outsheet- the data it looks perfectly
fine and I can read it into Excel just fine.  Now, I want to append more data to
that file, so I -insheet- the original, append the new data, and -outsheet-
again.  When I -insheet- the data, the embedded quotes confuse the heck out of
the -insheet- parser and the data are no longer fine.  I can provide details on
what happens, but that isn't really relevant.

I use "tab" as my delimiter when writing and reading the file, so I'm not
exactly sure why Stata thinks it should be looking at quotes in the first place
(hence, undocumented feature), but that's the way it is.

My question is:

Does anyone see or know a fairly efficient way around this problem (i.e., to
read embedded quotes properly)?  Right now, I'm trying to read in each line of
the tab delimited file and parse it myself.  That's okay, but it makes for some
rather ugly programming and amounts to writing my own -insheet- command.

Thanks for any suggestions.


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