Data Conversion

The Data Conversion utility is a program that will easily convert your data into other formats as well as generate data definition files to import into other data processing packages using the Reformat utility.

Data Conversion Capabilities:

  • Converts data to other formats; i.e. delimited, fixed, SQL, card-image
  • Spreads multi-punch data
  • Generates data definitions for other programs; i.e. SAS, SPSS
  • Converts TEXT questions into ASCII data

Output Data Types Generated

When converting your data, there are 4 output data types to choose from:

Data Outputs Description
Delimited Blanks are stripped from this data. Variables are separated by the delimiter of your choice. Common delimiters are TAB, comma or blank. However, you can specify your own delimiter if you like. Variable names are recorded in the first record. Quotes are placed around variables with string data, numeric and code data is recorded without quotes around it. Often used for spreadsheet applications.
Fixed Fixed format ASCII data spreads the data in the same relative position for every question across respondents. Records will be as long as necessary for the data spread. When Survox writes data definitions for other packages, it must have the data in this format to match.
SQL Exports data for easy import into an SQL Database.
Card-Image Generates a case ID and record ID for each 80-column record. By default, the record IDs will be numbered sequentially starting at 01. For example, if your datacase has 800 columns, there would be “10” “80” column records. The same number of records are written for each respondent regardless of the amount of data in their particular data record.

Data Definition Files Generated

When spreading the data into a fixed or card-image format, you have the option to produce a matching set of data definitions files (output maps) which can be imported into other data processing packages:

Data Definition Files Description
Quantum Definitions to load into the Quantum data processing package
SPSS Data definitions to load into the SPSS, or an SAV file*.
SAS Definitions to load into the SAS data processing package
Survox Mentor Mentor tabsets matching the spread data
Survox Survent Questionnaire specifications matching the spread output
Triple-S XML A data standard for various market research applications
*Note – PSPP must be installed for .SAV files to be created.

Files Created

When Data Conversion spreads the data, it will produce 2 or more files depending on which output options you choose.

These files can be downloaded to your desktop:

Files Created Description
.RFT A spread ASCII data file which may be used as input to programs that use ASCII format. This may be a delimited file, fixed format or card image format. See below for a detailed description of these file types.
.RFL A map file which shows the variable text and codes, where the data was moved to and where it was moved from.
.DEF A definitions file for data definitions to export to other data processing packages. For instance, Reformat can export data definitions in “Triple S” XML format which is a popular data format used for market research.
.SAV An SPSS data file*.
 *Note – PSPP must be installed for .SAV files to be created.

Running Data Conversions

A Data Conversion can be run on Live or Test, or an assembled suspend TR file. If you haven’t deployed your survey and collected any Live data, Reformat will automatically run on Test data and the drop down menu asking you which data file you want to run Reformat on will not appear. However, once you’ve deployed your project, you will get a drop down menu allowing you to choose between Live or Test data or an assembled suspend TR file for your Reformat run.

To continue the Data Conversion run, you MUST choose a .qff or .db file from the drop down menu. Omitting this results in a popup javascript reminder message. The output file name will match your study code by default. This can be changed. If left blank, the output file name will automatically default to match the study code. After choosing which data types and map types (optional) to output, click the “Run Reformat” button to process.

You can also set a base on your output.  If you use a base then you have to choose a .db file.  You can use the .qff and .db file when setting a base. To see base example, click on the “Click here to see examples of selection criteria” hyperlink.

You can set additional output options for your text questions along with setting specific data formats to output.

To save your Reformat spec, click on the “Save Reformat Spec” button. Saving your spec will save the Reformat specifications to an external file so you don’t need to re-specify options again in future Reformat runs. The spec will be saved with the same name as your output file with an .spx extension appended to it.


When running Data Conversion again, an additional drop down menu will be added where you can choose a saved Reformat spec.



Downloading Files Created

  1. Available files for download will appear on the screen
  2. You can click the “All” or “Check All” box to select all the files, the “None” or “Uncheck All” box to deselect all the files, or you can select the specific file hyperlink that you want to download
  3. These files will be automatically compressed and saved as a zip file
  4. Click the “Download” button to download the file