25 - 05 - 2017

File Formats

The National Crosswalk Service Center uses a variety of database tools for manipulating raw data and providing files for use in the Workforce Information Database and other applications.  You will find a number of file types on the center's servers.  Information about the file types, the file extensions that relate to them, and other software that can be used to process the files are included below:

  • Delimited Text Files: Files with a .txt extension can be imported with nearly any database software.  The fields are separated by commas, and all character fields are enclosed in quotation marks.  These files may also be referred to as comma-delimited text files.  
  • FoxPro Free Tables:  This format, which has a .dbf extension, can be traced to the center's use of dBASE II by Ashton-Tate in the early 1980s. If the file includes any memo fields, you will find another file by the same name with the .fpt extension.  These files can be imported into a number of other file formats, including those used by Access, Excel and SAS/PC.
  • Visual FoxPro Database: These databases are collections of files that may be related to each other.  The NCSC has developed Visual FoxPro databases for most versions of the Workforce Information Database.  The databases include constraints designed to ensure the integrity and consistency of table contents.  For more information about relational databases and how that is included in the Workforce Information Database, see the introductory material   in the documentation for the latest version of the database.  Beginning with the 2.4 version, individual FoxPro free tables will no longer be made available because some file and field name lengths exceed the limits of that format.  Visual FoxPro databases don't include the same limitations, and use of this format will continue.
  • Access Databases:  Access databases can be similar to those of the visual FoxPro in many ways, including constraints on table content and relationships among database tables.  Simple databases may contain only a single table with no constrains, while the software can also include databases as large and complex as the Workforce Information Database.  The NCSC has made a number of versions of the database available in this format.   Access databases are included in files with an .mdb extension.
  • Excel Spreadsheet Files:  Excel software can open many FoxPro free tables and Access Tables.  However, memo fields might not import completely or correctly.  These files end with an .xls extension. The NCSC does not routinely create this type of files, but can do so upon request.
  • SAS/PC:  The NCSC began by manipulating mainframe data files using SAS software, and continues to use the microcomputer version.  SAS is a very powerful tool for manipulating, combining and formatting data of the types found in the Workforce Information Database.  SAC/PC files end with a .sas7bdat extension and must be processed using that software.
Feel free to contact  the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions about database formats or to request formatting of files for your particular application.