Text Import Questions

I’m just a sales vice president that needs to analyze data. I’ve tried pretty hard, but I just don’t get it. I can’t even import a simple csv, or even the sample data - It won’t let me add more than one field, field headers are numbers, etc… I successfully imported some existing Pan databases, but working the app is so unintuitive and frankly slower.

I take it I’m not in your target market. Sorry to have wasted your time and mine. How do I get a refund on my $100?

Hi Stephen
If you want to try a little more and would like some help, I would be glad to do that. I have been using Panorama since the mid-1990s, and consider myself a mid-level user. I set up and managed several databases in my law firm and know how to analyze and manipulate financial data. If that’s of interest, feel free to email me at tgcooper@mac.com. Best of all, my help is free.
BTW, Panorama is very powerful program, so that it necessarily has some additional complexity. Even so, there are many tools to do basic things. And you or I can get a lot of very excellent help on this forum. I sounds like you might prefer Excel, which, of course can be used for lots of data manipulation and analysis, but personally I have never done anything beyond the basics with it.
Tom Cooper

I’m feeling his pain. I open a new Pano X file and it defaults to 1 field named A. I am wanting to import a text file so I use the Find & Open, but am frustrated that it only displays Panorama databases instead of letting me open the text file and import it.

I then find the Import/Text Import Wizard and feel a bit of confidence that something smarter than I will help me. I select the file and the result is a dialog stating that the database contains insufficient fields to import all the data. The last x columns were ignored.

This does not seem to be the easy path to get a text file imported.

I may not want to import a text file into an already open database, or I may not have had the foresight to create the necessary fields. It would be nice to see some blatant choices for Import into new Database and Use First Record for Field Names.

A new database would ideally create the necessary number of fields to import the text file.

It’s currently possible to close all open databases and have only the Text Import Wizard open with no place to receive the imported text. This is another case where importing into a new database would be nice.

Perhaps this needs to be moved (or duplicated) in the File>Import submenu, but this option already exists. Perhaps the confusion stems from the fact that this is described under the topic Creating a New Database, but the very first paragraph of the Text Import page mentions this option and provides a link.

If you’ve got a CSV file with column names in the first row, you can create a new Panorama database with all the necessary fields (with the correct names, not A, B, C) in seconds:

This is much easier/faster than it was in Panorama 6 (where this had to be done with the New Database wizard, with additional steps). However, it is clear from this discussion, and from another recent private discussion, that this isn’t discoverable enough. Also, I think the menu item for the Text Import Wizard needs to be changed to Import Text into Current Database to better reflect what it does. Since Panorama 4 this wizard has always been for importing text into the current database and not for creating a new database, but this seems to be causing new questions even though the basic operation is pretty much the same as Panorama 6 – maybe more people are using it now.

Could you provide clarification on these points? There have been no other reports of these kind of basic problems, and I don’t really understand what you are referring to.

Adding new fields is described on this page:

There is no limit to the number of fields that can be added. You can also quickly add a bunch of new fields at once:

I don’t know what “field headers are numbers” means.

I think he is referring to these.

Best guess on this one. The active database is the default database that appears when you launch. It only has one field. He can’t drag more than one column, because he only has the one field. Likewise, choosing ALL IMPORT COLUMNS only fills the one field.

I think this is another case of confusion over the difference between Import, and New Database from Text File.

Perhaps the confusion stems from the fact that

… the fact that most of us look to the File menu when we want to import text, then go by (developed) instinct. Looking at the documentation is often a last resort on something that we may consider a basic and common operation. It appears to be obvious in Pan X, but then leads into a dead end.

With the expectation that many new users will be getting into Pan X, this may be a fortunate thread in making the initial jump a whole lot easier.

Old timers are used to doing it this way.

If you don’t check Append To Current Database, or Replace Current Database, you got a new database from the text file. It was all in one dialog.

Many users still do things the way they did them in Panorama 2, because it still works in Pan 6.

Old timers are used to doing it this way.

Old (Panorama) Timers, but if I’m in any other application, especially one I’m unfamiliar with, I head for the File menu and look for Import. Odds are high, in my opinion, that I will find what I want and import the text file.

Certainly reasonable. I think there are two ways that instinct could go:

  1. I want to create a NEW DATABASE containing the contents of a text file
  • I want to IMPORT a text file into a new database.

Right now, Panorama X assumes that your instinct will be #1, but clearly many users are thinking #2, and Panorama X is letting them down. I think I have an idea that will make Panorama X intuitive for both types of users. I’ll implement it in the next release.

Believe me, back in the day there were a LOT of users that found that method less than intuitive – they never noticed that pop-up menu. A very popular tech support question back in the 80’s and 90’s.

Also, that dialog did not set up the field names for you, you just got A, B, C, etc.

@dave I think you are probably spot on as to the meaning of the original questions, thank you. I hope @sbennett3705 (the original poster) is still monitoring this thread, the summary takeaway is that right now he can instantly get where he wants to go by choosing File>New>New Database from Text File.

Jim’s advice to use "New -> Database from text file"works perfectly. Thanks!

The “Text Import Wizard” remains a mystery. Apparently it’s not for creating a database with the first row containing the field names (as in FileMaker, or even similar to Pan 6).

Anyway, the group answered the issue and gave Jim some good direction, so it’s a “win”.

It’s not for creating a new database period. It’s for importing into an existing database, where the fields already exist and have names.

This was also true of Panorama 6. The Text Import wizard was for importing into an existing database. The New Database wizard could create a new database from a text file, and use the first line to name the fields.

Thanks for clarifying, makes sense. And, the database is now working flawlessly!

The value of this online forum shows itself yet again.