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Source files (including .csv) accepted by the Beyond 20/20 Builder and DC Wizard

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With the ability to build .ivt files from a comma separated file now available in the latest release of the Beyond 20/20 Builder (v7.1), now might be a good time to review the various types of source data that the B2020 Builder and DC Wizard accept.


Before considering your source files, you should have a clear understanding of how many .ivt files you want to build, the number of dimensions in each (and their general content), and what metadata should be associated with each Beyond 20/20 table.


You may have data in a bunch of different file formats or it may be stored in an existing database. If in a database, you should consider using the DC wizard which requires that you have a fact table where each record contains item keys (integers), item codes (characters), and at least one measure, or quantitative value. The DCWizard documentation outlines the steps required to build your tables.


The Beyond 20/20 Builder on the other hand currently accepts .csv, .txt (and .prn) and .dbf as input files. If your data files come from different sources and are in different formats you have to figure out how to combine all the data into one source data file. This is often done programmatically and results in a comma separated file or text file where each field or column contains the items of a dimension or the data associated with the particular record. If working with an ASCII text file, the Builder requires that you open and describe the layout of the text file before creating your table. When the Builder opens a .csv or .dbf file it knows how the data is organized and automatically organizes the data into fields that can then be used as dimensions. In the case of .csv files, the “type” of field must be subsequently defined if the field is to be used as a numeric or date field. If any values in your source files represent missing data then these values have to be declared as missing values so that the Builder can treat them accordingly.


Metadata that you might want to build into your .ivt file includes table, dimension and items notes along with specific cell notes. If you know what items should be included in a dimension before you build the table you can add any dimension and item notes in a predefined file that is either an ascii .ivn file or the more efficient Beyond 20/20 .ivd file. Both of these file types are described in detail in the Builder documentation. Table notes can be added after the table is built by editing the summary of the table, or they can be part of a script file (*.ivu) that defines each step of the building process. Notes attached to a cell, called footnotes, can also be defined after the table is built or, in the case of many footnotes, as part of the build. Adding footnotes involves defining what the footnotes look like, and associating them with particular cells in the table.


Preparing the source files before a build is the largest part of creating an .ivt file. It is well worth your while to take the time up front to create a well-structured data file and meaningful metadata files. In the end, your users will thank you!

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  • Guest
    nader Saturday, 13 July 2013

    Thanks for the info. i have a question though. what if i have only .pdf files and want to work woth 20-20.
    what do i have to do?

  • Janet Smith
    Janet Smith Monday, 15 July 2013

    You have to extract the data and metadata portions from the .pdf by saving the .pdf to a .txt file (using File, Save as Other, Text) or an .xlsx file (if you have purchased Adobe ExportPDF - approx $20/year). How much work this is depends on the .pdf and how it is laid out. The .txt will most likely require processing to turn it into a structured, well-defined text file that can be fed into the Builder and for this you will need some programming expertise. The .xlsx file will be more structured but will still require that extra titles, headings etc. be stripped out before saving out to a .txt file that can be read by the Builder. Another option is to ask the .pdf provider if they offer the data in any other formats.

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Guest Monday, 22 July 2019