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At 13:52 21/12/2012 -0800, Rich Shepard wrote:
The problem comes when I save the explicitly-formatted file: the text fields are quoted only when they have content, not when they are blank.

I don't think that's true: I think empty cells are output as nothing, but blank cells - those in which the text string is one or more blanks - are output correctly in quotes.

This, of course, prevents correctly reading the files into database tables or R data frames. I have tried all sorts of kludges to force Calc to display the .csv dialog box where I can tell it to quote all text fields, but those cells without content are saved as ,, rather than ,'',. What do I do so that blank cells in text-formatted columns are quoted in the saved (or saved-as) .csv file?

Could you convert your empty cells to blank, output as CSV, read this into your other program, and then - only if necessary - edit the blanks back to null?

This might be more difficult is you have both genuinely empty and blank cells and if these are significantly different; in that case, could you put some other string into the empty cells and edit these out in the destination program?

Can your other programs cope only with CSV files? Not spreadsheet document files?

I trust this helps.

Brian Barker

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