Q contains a large number of tools to assist in the setting up of Excel and CSV files. Nevertheless, where possible Excel and CSV files should be avoided, as they require a lot of additional setup work. Furthermore, sometimes when survey data is stored in Excel and CSV files, it does not contain important information required to analyze the data appropriately. It is generally better to use file formats specifically designed for surveys (see File Formats Supported by Q for more information).
The basic process for using an Excel or CSV file is as follows:
- Structure the data to be imported in an appropriate way. That is, ensure that the file contains useful information to allow you to distinguish between missing data and valid observations and the like (see Tips for getting an Excel or CSV file working well in Q). Typically this organizing of data should occur in the program that is being used to collect/store the data. When this is not possible, Excel is often a good tool for doing this.
- If the file has been created in some other format, it then needs to be saved as an Excel or CSV file.
- Import and set up the file in Q (see Setting Up Files With No Metadata).