Garden with Insight
Garden with Insight v1.0 Help: text file warning
Most of the text files you can export from Garden with Insight are tab-delimited, which means that they
contain columns of text with tab characters between them. Most word processors, spreadsheets and
database programs can read and write tab-delimited format. If you edit these tab-delimited text files,
follow these guidelines:
Be careful not to move any
columns out of place, because the column order must be exactly correct.
Do not add extra columns at the
end, because the program expects the number of columns to be exactly correct. Also, some word
processors will cut off lines that go on for longer than they can handle. If your export file has many
columns, your word processor could truncate each line, which would make the file unreadable. Of course,
this is only a problem if you save the file in the word processor. If you want to find out, make a
backup file, then save the new file in the word processor without changing anything (as text only) and
compare the file sizes. In general, it's safer to use a spreadsheet than a word processor, and much easier to
see what you are doing.
For columns that contain
numbers, be careful not to insert any letters in with the numbers because this will not be read in correctly
and the data in that cell may be lost, or the variable may be set to a default number, or the file import may
In some files, the first few
columns are used for matching up the tab-delimited text data with existing objects using names or fixed
types. You should not edit any columns that seem to contain names or that are labeled "name"
or "type." It's always okay to copy whole rows, though, because no record ever takes more than
If a column has data that looks
like secret codes, with a lot of letters all smashed up together, it probably is secret codes, so don't
change it (though you can copy and paste it). These typically represent picture bitmaps.
When you save the file after
editing it, you MUST save it in tab-delimited text format, and not in the native format of the spreadsheet
or database you are using.
When you export templates, any
complex seedling cultivars will turn into seeds, because they do not
export their growth information. You can turn them back into complex seedling templates later -- see How to make a seedling cultivar.
DO NOT edit icons, though it is
safe to copy an entire row.
A special note about templates and delimiters: When you export templates, there are many, many separate
values to export for each object. If these values were all exported with tabs between them, there would be
about 600 columns. Some spreadsheet programs (like Excel 5.0) will only accept 256 columns. For that
reason the values that are in lists (by month, by layer, etc.) are separated with a second delimiter -- the
pipe (|), which is probably on your keyboard on the top of the backslash (\) key. One of the great things
about exporting templates to a text file is that you can use a spreadsheet to look at all the data, compare it,
graph it, etc. You can't do that very well if the numbers for, say, minimum temperature by month are all
embedded inside one column. If you want to look at the data each in its own column, you have two
options, depending on whether the spreadsheet program you are using can handle files with more than
256 columns. To find out, look in the spreadsheet's help system or manual for program limitations.
If your spreadsheet can handle
more than 256 columns, open the file and choose two delimiters: the tab and the pipe. If your spreadsheet
doesn't take two delimiters, open the file with one delimiter, then replace all the pipes with tabs, then
write it out again as tab-delimited, then import it. If your spreadsheet doesn't accept a pipe delimiter,
replace all the pipes with some other delimiter your spreadsheet can understand.
If your spreadsheet can't handle
more than 256 columns, select a block of columns (say the weather parameters) with the row of labels and the rows you want to use, copy the
block into a new file, save that file as tab-delimited text, then open that file with two delimiters (the above
If you don't feel comfortable editing tab-delimited text files with these warnings in mind, don't.
Still, a tab-delimited text file makes a good backup for your binary files, is less likely than binary files to
get corrupted, and is easier to send over the internet. For example, if you take one template and replace all
the paragraph (end-of-line) marks with two paragraph marks, then replace all the tabs with one paragraph
mark, you have a document you can send via email (the receiver must reverse the replacement at their end
to use the template). Remember to make a backup copy of any text file you edit, so that you can return to
the original file if you can't import the changed file.