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Re: Reading tables with labels

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg5544] Re: Reading tables with labels
  • From: "David B. Wagner" <dbwagner at>
  • Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 01:02:37 -0500
  • Organization: Principia Consulting
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

William R. Pearson wrote:
> I would like to read a table that looks like this:
> name        len lamr   lamv   kr     kv
> FEPE         54 0.2316 0.1544 0.4582 0.2030
> H3NJ1W       60 0.2136 0.1826 0.1589 0.1244
> NTSRIA       64 0.2087 0.1614 0.1730 0.1117
> N2KF1U       74 0.2115 0.1560 0.1416 0.0826
> LWBOA        75 0.1774 0.1910 0.0335 0.0352
> LWPMA        81 0.1797 0.1809 0.0375 0.0378
> Into two lists, one with the name of the column and a second with
> the actual values of the columns.  I can read the data with ReadList[],
> but of course it chokes on the initial labels.

You need to open a stream to the file, read the label row using the
Read command, and then use ReadList to snarf up the remainder of the
table.  E.g.,

	s = OpenRead["yourdatafile"];
 labels = Read[s, String];
 data = ReadList[s, your_format_specification];

The general rule is, you can call Read as many times as you want, but
as soon as you call ReadList, everything up to the end of the file is

Note that there's no obvious way to separate the individual strings in
the label line.  I have used the following approach:

	s = OpenRead["yourdatafile"];
 s2 = StringToStream[Read[s, String]];
 labels = ReadList[s2, Word];
 data = ReadList[s, your_format_specification];

StringToStream creates a stream from a string, which means you can then
use ordinary Read/ReadList operations on it.  It is analogous to
using sscanf (as opposed to scanf) in C.

Has anybody got a better way to do this, in situations where you don't
know the number of labels in advance?

		Dave Wagner
		Principia Consulting
		Tel: (500) PRN-CPIA

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