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Compressed Files on Window on State Government

Window on State Government currently contains some files in what is known as a "compressed" format. In an effort to help those users on our system who are unfamiliar with how to use information in this format, we have created this help file.

Compressed files on our system are normal text files that have been compressed with a special software utility to make them smaller. We do this to some of the larger files so that they can more quickly be downloaded. For example, the Sales Tax Permit files are generally about 1MB in size when uncompressed, and about 650K when compressed. All the compressed files on our system have an extension of ".exe". What this extension name means in computer terms is that they are executable files. In other words, you will not need a special computer program of your own to uncompress the files, they will uncompress themselves once you have followed the correct procedures. Once the files are uncompressed, they are formatted to be viewed in a spreadsheet program with a comma delimiter, as explained in detail in the following procedures.

The following information illustrates how to transfer a compressed file to your system, uncompress the file, and open it up in a spreadsheet program to view the data.

For the purpose of this help file, we will be using one of the Sales Tax Permit files, in this case, stp11-10.exe, an IBM compatible computer, and a Microsoft EXCEL spreadsheet program.

PART 1- DOWNLOADING THE FILE TO YOUR COMPUTER

Netscape users

  1. Select the file you want to download by "clicking" on the file name.
  2. A window will pop up with "Save in: " at the top. You can use this to select the folder where you want the file to download. Please make note of where this file will download.
  3. Click on the "Save" button. The file will now transfer to your computer.

Microsoft Internet Explorer users

  1. Select the file you want to download by clicking on the filename.
  2. A window will pop up with the file and ask: "What would you like to do with this file?"
  3. Select "Save this program to disk"
  4. Press OK.
  5. Another window will pop up with "Save in:" at the top. The folder the file will transfer to will be shown in the box. You can change folders that the file will download by selecting another folder.
  6. Select "Save"at the bottom right of the window and the file will transfer to your computer.

PART 2 - UNCOMPRESSING THE FILE

  1. Find the downloaded file on your computer and double click on it.
  2. A WinZip Self-Extractor window will pop up with "To unzip all files in stp11-10.exe to the specified folder press the Unzip button". Before you select the Unzip button, check the location bar under "Unzip to folder?". The files are going to download to a temporary folder by default unless you change it. We recommend you change the location of where the files will go by selecting the Browse button and then choosing (by highlighting and selecting the OK button) the folder.
  3. Then select the Unzip button and you should get a message saying "2 files unzipped successfully".
  4. Hit the OK button and then hit the close button to close the window.
  5. You can then go to the folder that you selected and look for the two new files.

The stp11-10.txt file is the actual data file. This is the information that you will open up in your spreadsheet program. The stp layout.txt file is simply a text file that explains the fields in the stp11-10.txt file.

This process is slightly different for Macintosh users. Mac users will need to use UnZip or a similar utility to uncompress the file. To use UnZip, download it and double click on it. It will uncompress itself into the program and an instructional text file. You will then be able to use the UnZip program to uncompress the files you need.

PART 3 - VIEWING THE DATA

  1. Start up your spreadsheet program, in this case, Microsoft EXCEL Version 7.0. (The following steps may be different for early versions of EXCEL.)
  2. From the "File" menu, select the option "Open...". At this point, a box will pop up displaying various options to open your file. You must know where the file resides.
  3. In the "Look in:" window find the folder where the stp11-10.txt file resides and select it.
  4. Select the file you want to open (stp11-10.txt). In the "Files of type:" field at the bottom of the window, make sure the All Files or Text Files is selected.
  5. A Text Import Wizard box will pop up. The Data Type is delimited, so choose "Delimited" as the file type. A delimiter is simply a punctuation mark that a spreadsheet or database program uses to separate the various fields of data. Go to the next step and you will find various delimiters to choose from. The compressed files on our system,(including the example file we are using, stp11-10.txt) all use a comma delimiter.
  6. Select that delimiter from the available options.
  7. Now select the file to open, in this case stp11-10.txt.
  8. The spreadsheet program will now begin processing the file, and will display it on your screen.
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