New Challenges, New Skills part 2

If you are following this thread, you will recall I had been challenged to manage some data downloaded from Fb. You can download your timeline, with everything in it and then do what you will with same.

One of my associates wanted to put the text into an Excel spreadsheet with one line per record. But, Fb doesn’t bring it down quite so nicely. Your time stamp is on line one, the status description is on line two, and if you’ve uploaded photos, and probably in a few other status updates, where there are multiple lines of text, that stuff is on yet another line. What’s a poor user to do?

It’s a neat trick, but nothing new. You have to use Word, or some other editor, to do a find and replace. In this case, all time stamps ended in PDT (or was it PST?) – so, I replaced PDT, paragraph mark, with PDT, semicolon. For the records where there were no multiple lines and no photo uploads, I got a nice clean separation of date field and status. Then I did a second pass, where I replaced Uploads, paragraph mark, with Uploads, semicolon. This parsed about 98% of the records.

Now I had several hundred lines, with one record per line, with the fields separated by semicolons. Excel does a nice job with that delimiter, so all that was left to do what the old, “Text to columns” function in Excel and almost all of the records were in neat columns in an Excel spreadsheet.

I’m sure you can figure out how to do this with your word processor and spreadsheet applications. Oh, I almost left out a step. Peculiar to Office 2013 and not evident with Office 2010, I had to paste the original text data into Notepad, to get the paragraph markers, then copy paste it from there to Word. Figure that out and get back to me.

Enjoy!