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Before submitting ASCII text files produced by third-party software or manually produced, you should verify the file formats, record layouts and file names using these specifications.  Verifying the correct format will increase the chances that your files will be accepted.  If a file does not conform to these specifications, the report may be returned or rejected. You will be contacted and asked to correct and re-submit your files. 

Microsoft Windows users can use Option A (as of version 6.1) to verify their files or a legacy version of Option C (replaced by Option A version 6.1).

Text File Format

The report’s text file(s) should contain ASCII data and use the pipe (“|”) character as a field separator; pipe separators are preferred, but tabs are acceptable.  Each record must always contain all the "pipe" delimiters for all fields in the record type including fields that are not required.

Individual records should occupy one line in the file and terminate with Windows end-of-line characters (line feed / carriage return).  Fixed width records will not be accepted.

Name your files according to the guidelines in the file naming appendix.  At a minimum the file name should begin with the correct form prefix and end with the txt extension.

Record Layouts

The record layouts for text files are similar to the layouts of the forms in  Option A and B, except that the header fields from the forms must be added to the records.

 

The column widths specified in the data dictionary descriptions are the maximum allowable widths for the fields.

 

 

The Service Bureau’s  Option A software saves report data in the proper format. Some third-party software is also able to save your data in that format, but the correct format might not be the “default” choice in the software.