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Export in dBase IV (dbf) format unavailable in Excel 2007/2010/2013

Date: April 15, 2007 (last updated on May 21, 2014)
reference id: QA0135

Question

If I use ASAP Utilities in Excel 2007 or newer, then the ability to export the current sheet or range in dBase IV (dbf) format is no longer possible (disabled/grayed out). Is there a problem with that type of export?

(In ASAP Utilities versions before 4.1.1 you might even get an warning message saying that it isn't sure the export succeeded)

Answer

This is due to the fact that in Excel 2007 Microsoft has removed certain file formats in which a file can be saved. One of them is the dBase (dbf) format.

ASAP Utilities relies on Excel to create the new file and thus now isn't able to export to dBase format anymore. We have looked at the possibilities of creating a DBF file in Excel 2007 with a workaround but haven't been able to create a constructive manner (yet). We know that many people miss the functionality in Excel 2007 and hope that MS thinks about it again and will add it back with one of its service packs.

If you use the DBF file format to get data into ArcView GIS, you might consider to use the tab-delimited text-format. That should work too and can still be created in Excel 2007 or via ASAP Utilities. Another much heard-of workaround is to use OpenOffice (>portable edition).

Current status

The current status on April 2014 is that Microsoft still hasn't brought back the "save as dbase" file format in the latest version of Excel (Excel 2013). Most likely they will never bring it back

The following is written by Microsoft on its website

"What file formats will no longer be supported in Excel 2007?"

Microsoft has created a list of several currently know issues/readme for Office 2007:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/products/FX101633871033.aspx#9

Historically Excel has supported many different data formats. We have determined that a number of these older formats are seldom, if ever used. We are removing support for some file types to allow us to devote more of our efforts towards the file formats that are being used. Theses formats are being deprecated in 2 ways. For the set of file formats with the lowest usage, we will be discontinuing support for opening and saving of these formats. For the second set that has some minimal usage, we will support loading the files in Excel 2007 to allow you to save them in a newer format.

The following formats cannot be opened or saved in Excel 2007:
WK1 (1-2-3)
WK4 (1-2-3)
WJ3 (1-2-3 Japanese) (.wj3)
WKS (1-2-3)
WK3,(1-2-3)
WK1,FMT(1-2-3)
WJ2 (1-2-3 Japanese) (.wj2)
WJ3, FJ3 (1-2-3 Japanese) (.wj3)
DBF 2 (dBASE II)
WQ1 (Quattro Pro/DOS)
WK3,FM3(1-2-3)
Microsoft Excel Chart (.xlc)
WK1,ALL(1-2-3)
WJ1 (1-2-3 Japanese) (.wj1)
WKS (Works Japanese) (.wks)

The following formats may be opened, but not saved to in Excel 2007:
Microsoft Excel 2.1 Worksheet
Microsoft Excel 2.1 Macro
Microsoft Excel 3.0 Worksheet
Microsoft Excel 3.0 Macro
Microsoft Excel 4.0 Worksheet
Microsoft Excel 4.0 Macro
Microsoft Excel 97- Excel 2003 & 5.0/95 Workbook
Microsoft Excel 4.0 Workbook
DBF 3 (dBASE III)
DBF 4 (dBASE IV)

Discussion

The following page shows a discussion that might be interesting to read, especially if you are a GIS user. A few add-ins are mentioned too (although they didn't work 100% correct for me):
http://weblogs.foxite.com/davidfung/archive/2007/11/28/5434.aspx






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