Columns within Genstat can only contain one type of data: variates (numerical values), text (strings) or factors, whereas in Excel you can have a mixture of cell types within a column. When importing data from Excel to Genstat, any column containing a text item will be read into Genstat as a text column (and any numbers within the column will be converted to the text string representing its value). Within Excel you can use a marker (a special character) in the column header to identify and convert the data when it is imported into Genstat. Excel markers can be used in two ways:
- as a suffix on the column name
- as a prefix in a comment on the column name cell (see Using Excel Cell Comments with Genstat)
The following Excel markers can be added to column names/cell comments.
|!||Interpret the column as a factor|
|#||Interpret the column as a variate|
|$||Interpret the column as a text|
|:D||Display the column as a date|
|:T||Display the column as a time|
|:0, :1, :2 … :9||Display the column with a fixed number of decimal places|
|:E||Display the column in scientific format|
The ! marker can be applied in conjunction with the Date :D or Time :T markers, so that !:D would indicate a factor with levels displayed as dates.
In the Excel spreadsheet below, column A will be imported into Genstat as a factor while column B will be imported as a date.