Gnumeric can import data which is organized as text fields structured in some systematic fashion either from a file or from the clipboard. Importing structured text may require extensive intervention on the part of the user so Gnumeric provides a Text Import druid, which is a three paneled dialog with configuration options. For text imported from files, this druid appears after the file has been imported, using the Import Text File... menu item in the Import Data submenu of the Data menu as described in Section 4.2.9 ― The Data Menu. For text imported from the clipboard, the druid appears when a user attempts to paste the text into a worksheet, as is explained in Section 5.7.4 ― Cut and Paste Between Gnumeric and Other Applications.
The text import druid contains three panels but the middle panel differs depending on the structuring system used, either with data fields separated by a special character or with data fields occurring at equally spaced intervals in each line. The first panel allows the user to configure the character encoding, line break characters, structuring system, and line range. The second panel allows the user to define the columns by either, for separated data, setting the separating character and text delimiting character, or, for fixed space data, by setting the column spacing. The third panel allows the user to select which columns to import and define their data types.
This explanation of the Text Import druid will first start with a discussion of text files including character encodings and line break delimiters. The explanation will then cover the various strategies used to structure numeric data in text files. Following these discussions, the components of the druid will be presented and, finally, a detailed explanation of each step in the use of the druid will be presented.