NCCS Data Web - Data Extract (Helpful Hint)

This FAQ describes how to work with data extracts from the NCCS Data Web.

Uncompressing NCCS Extract Files

NCCS Data Extracts come in a variety of different data and spreadsheet formats. To make transfer over the Internet quick, the files are compressed using a gzip utility.

Most file compression utilities that work with the familiar .ZIP format -- WinZip, for example -- will also uncompress GZIP format (.GZ) files.

Most Microsoft Windows computers now have software already installed for uncompressing these files. The easiest way to find out if your computer can uncompress the file is, after downloading, to go to Windows Explorer and double-click on the file name. If a program comes up that let’s you extract the file, you are all set to go.

If not, you will need to download a file compression utility program from the web. File compression utilities are available for free from a wide variety of sources including: - Gzip

Many others are available by searching the Download section of ZDNET or  or

Three of the most widely used extraction programs are WinZip, ZipMagic, and StuffIt available on the web and possibly at your local office or computer supply store.

Once you install a file compression utility, you will usually be able to double-click on a Gzipped file from Windows Explorer or “My Computer” and have the utility automatically load. You then choose “Extract” to create a new file without the .GZ extension. For example, if you downloaded file XYZ123.DBF.GZ from NCCS, you would extract a file called XYZ123.DBF from the .GZ file.

Excel Files

ASCII files saved as CSV files (comma-separated values) generally works well as an import choice. However, commas in character fields (even when the character fields are surrounded by quotes) result in the fields getting separated. Thus a STATELIST field containing "VA,MD" (quotes included in output) results in VA and MD in separate columns.

If importing text data with line feeds embedded in the text/memo fields, you can use a text editor or word processor to replace backslash-linefeed combinations with < br> (html break code) before importing.

Importing dBase files into Microsoft Access

dBase files that are being imported into Microsoft Access should have file names NO LONGER THAN 8 characters. Otherwise, Access will "not be able to find the file."

Importing a dbase III file into Microsoft Access is an easy and quick process once you have done it once. (dBase III was a widely used database in the 1980s and has remained a standard format for importing and exporting files.) Please follow these steps:

Before you can use a dBase file in Access, you must first create the Access database. To do so, click on File and New to create a blank database.

Choose “New” from the Database panel.

Choose “Import Table”

At bottom of dialogue box, change “Files of Type” to “dbase III (*.dbf)”.

Select the uncompressed extract file you received from NCCS. (XYZ123.DBF, for example)

Click on the “Import” button.

When the process is complete, you will get a message saying something like “Successfully imported ‘xyz123’”. You should then choose “Close” to remove the “Import” dialogue box.


Added 04/29/2002 by tpollak, Modified 05/03/2012 by tpollak


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