STOCK INVESTOR PRO > September 2011

Isolating Data Fields

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Last month’s issue of Stock Investor News marked the first time the publication was delivered electronically. The subject was “Isolating Data With Views,” and an instructional video was created and uploaded in conjunction with the email. In this month’s issue, we continue discussing the topic with “Isolating Data Fields.”

In the August issue, we highlighted creating views to isolate data fields. Users can open created views at any time to display data fields of interest. Furthermore, we showed how to apply the view and sort by data field. In this installment, we take views one step further and discuss editing views and exporting view data.

Editing Views

You can edit any view you have created and save the changes. Let’s continue our example using the Fundamental Data view we created in last month's issue. In order to edit the Fundamental Data view, we need to open the View Editor (see the August issue for direction if needed). Click on the arrow of the Name pull-down menu at the top left of the View Editor. Then scroll down the list and select the name of the view you wish to edit, in this case Fundamental Data.

To remove the ticker symbol from our Fundamental Data view, first click on the gray square found to the left of Ticker in the text box on the right-hand side of the View Editor to select the field. Then click on the Delete button in the upper-middle portion of the View Editor window; this will remove the ticker field from the view. If you wish to overwrite the original view and save the view that reflects changes you have made, click Save. However, if you wish to keep the edited view as well as the original view, click on Save As. You will then be prompted to name and describe the altered view. When you click on Ok, this view will be saved and the original view kept intact.

Beyond adding or deleting data fields from an existing view, you can also change the order in which the fields appear. To do this, click and hold on the gray box to the left of any data field you wish to re-order until an up/down arrow appears in the box. Then drag it upward or downward until it is positioned where you want it within the list of data fields and release the mouse button. To keep this new order, you need to save the view.

Exporting View Data

If you are interested in manipulating Stock Investor data outside of the program, you can export fields listed in a view. To begin, you need to make sure that the set of companies for which you wish to export data is loaded in the stock notebook, whether it is the entire database, a portfolio, or the results of a screening filter. In addition, you can sort the data by a given data field; this is the order in which the companies will be exported. In Stock Investor, the default rank is by company name, ascending order. To order the companies on a different field, you can use the rank function (select Rank from the Tools menu) or right-click on the desired column and select ascending or descending.

Next, select Export Data from the file menu. This will open an Export Data dialog box with pull-down menus where you can specify View, Type (file export format) and To (the location to which you want the data exported). In our example, we are exporting the companies passing the *Zweig, Martin screen, ranked in ascending order by company name, using the Fundamental Data view.

We are exporting the data in Excel spreadsheet format, but data can be exported in several other file formats, including Xbase database and comma-delimited and tab-delimited ASCII text files. Once you have chosen an export destination (click on the ... button to browse through the directories available on your computer), click on the Ok button to start the export process.

Two files are created during the export process. One is the file that contains the exported financial data, and the other is a so-called “key file” with a file name ending in _Key. The key file contains the headings of the data points that were exported and consists of two columns of data: the short field name and the long field name. The short name is limited to 10 characters; it is the data field name used internally in Stock Investor and included in any export file. The long name is the “plain English” name of the data field that is visible when you work with the field in Stock Investor. Inserting the long names into your exported data file makes for easier identification and analysis. Simply open the key file, copy the field names, transpose them, and paste them over the short names in your exported file.