How can I use Microsoft Excel to tidy my ASCII Text files?

A direct import from the¬†client's accounting package into¬†CaseWare¬†is not always possible. Therefore, it may be necessary to import the trial balance using the¬†ASCII¬†text file method. It should always be possible to export your client’s trial balance into either an ASCII or Excel file.¬†

The ASCII file must be in a satisfactory format before importing into CaseWare. When you receive an ASCII file from your client, the file is likely to be in an undesirable presentation for CaseWare to successfully import.

The best software to use for tidying up ASCII files is Microsoft Excel.

  1. Open Microsoft Excel and browse for your ASCII file. 
  2. Remember you are not browsing for an excel document. So you need to change the file type to Text Files (*.prm; *.txt; *.csv)
  3. Select the ASCII file and click Open.
  4. Whenever you try to open an ASCII file using Microsoft Excel, you will need to complete 3 steps of the Text Import Wizard.
  5. Step 1: Select Delimited  and click Next (If the Preview of the data below is neatly structured then select Fixed). 
  6. Step 2: Select the appropriate Delimiter. Once you do this the data in the Data preview will line up neatly. Click Next. 
  7. Step 3: Always change the Account No column to Text. This is to ensure your account numbers do not change format once they are brought into excel (e.g. decimal points, dates, etc). 
  8. The ASCII Text file has now successfully been imported into Excel.
  9. It is important to ensure that all information concerning an individual account is contained on one line.
  10. Delete all extraneous data including subheadings, page numbers, subtotals, dates and blank rows (between the data).
  11. Save the file after the changes are made. It is important to save the changes as a different file so if you have made an error you can revert back to the original.

Note: The file can then be saved in the following formats before importing into CaseWare: 

  • Text (tab delimited) (*.txt) with a new file name.
  • Excel file because CaseWare is able to import Excel files.
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