Importing and Exporting Data
You won't generate new data in IDEA for the most part. In most cases, you obtain data to analyze from an external source of some kind—probably not IDEA. Because you'll perform this task relatively often, creating applications to import data is one of the biggest time savers. Using an application to perform the task will also make things considerably easier. You won't have to remember every nuance of importing data you need—all you need to do is figure things out once, then let the application do it for you. In short, creating applications to import data is a double win for anyone using IDEA. Fortunately, IDEA makes it easy to import data in just about any format.
At some point, you'll probably have to export the data to send to someone else. After all, once you analyze the data, you'll want to share the results with someone—that's where exporting the data to another format comes into play. In addition, you might need to export data when you want to share it with other people using a common format. You'll sometimes need to export data to create reports. For example, you might want to create a complex graph or chart of the data. IDEA provides a significant number of methods for exporting your data to another data format.
This chapter discusses both importing and exporting data. This is perhaps one of the more important chapters in the book because it's a task that just about everyone will perform at some point when using IDEA.