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Questions on data transferring and analysis

Hi. I've recently started to use the Mathematica (version 2.2.3)
in the PCs of my lab. I am a graduate student doing experimental
physics. I wonder if it is a good idea to use the Mathematica for
making spreadsheets and doing data analysis. Usually I use ordinary
spreadsheet softwares such as Excel, Sigma Plot. Each has its own 
features which others don't have. But I am not really satisfied with

I will write down what I would like to do below. So, if anyone can
answer any one of those, please send me your answers to my email
address (shink at Also, if anyone knows good references
which cover the materials I want to know, I will be happy to know them.

Things I'm hoping that the Mathematics can do for me:

1. I want to download ('transfer') a text file (.txt or .prn) to the 
Mathematica Notebook, and to make a table using the data in the file
in a way that there are certain numbers of rows and columns shown as I

2. Based on the transferred file, I want to make a plot.

3. Like what I usually do in an ordinary spreadsheet software, I want to
add a new column (or a row) based upon calculations using the data. For
example, make a new number by adding a number in the first column and
that in the next column.

I would like to appologize if these questions are trivial. Because I am
a beginner for the Mathematica, I don't know much of it yet.

I will appreciate your attention and help.

Thanks in advance.

Shin Kondo
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa

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