This morning at work, two harried co-workers approached me, wanting to know how to import text into a schematic. They had a word document containing the information they wanted to appear on the schematic. In order to import text, you need to store your information in a plain text file; the software will not recognize or be able to import a word-processor document.

I was rather surprised when neither of these co-workers knew anything about the difference between a word processor and a text editor. They had no idea how to convert files from .doc to .txt. The guidelines below are adapted from an e-mail I sent to these co-workers. Most noders, I am sure, already know how to format a file for plain text once it has already been typed into a word processor, but I would like to present this information on the odd chance that someone out there needs it.

This, I believe, is basic information that should be understood by everyone who works with documents in different formats on a regular basis.

1.) Print out a copy of your Word document for reference.

2.) Take your Word document and save it in a convenient location as a .txt file.

3.) Open your file in a TEXT EDITOR. NOT a "word processor". This is very important. Word processors, as opposed to text editors, have special behind-the-scenes actions that produce a result incompatible with plain text. Text Editors are programs such as WordPad, NotePad, TextPad, or VI/VIM. DO NOT use Microsoft Word, as it is not a text editor!

4.) You will likely notice a number of small black squares or rectangles in your text. These represent the characters that could not be printed due to the conversion from a word processor file to a text file. Locate each of these black rectangles and delete them.

5.) After deleting the black rectangles, refer to your printout of your Word document. Replace the spots where the black rectangles used to be with the appropriate characters. As an example, quotation marks typed in Word will not correctly show up in a text file. Just re-type the quotation marks (") while IN THE TEXT EDITOR.

6.) Next, we address the problem of non-wrapping lines. You will probably observe that you have to scroll sideways for a long time in order to see the end of a line of text. To make this text appear on multiple, shorter lines, simply press the "Enter" key at the points where you want the line breaks to occur. Do this throughout the entire document.

7.) Save the file again from within the text editor, making sure that the extension is still ".txt".

I am not trying to insult anyone's intelligence by writing this. The two engineers who requested my help on document conversion are extremely intelligent and capable people who have been working with computers and other technology for years. Nobody knows everything, and it is very easy to go for years without some very basic knowledge; you might just never before have had a need to know.

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