More About Downloading Data

Choosing Tab Delimeted Text File will cause the data to be returned in a file of tab-separated columns suitable for importing into most spreadsheets or databases. Column headings are contained in the first row in the file. (more about campaign finance report items). The file is identified to your browser as type "text/tab-separated-values". The default file name is contrib.txt for contributions or expend.txt for expenditures.

If you requested data in Tab Delimeted format, after you click the Submit Query button your browser may ask you what to do with the query results file - save it, open it, pick a helper application, add a viewer, etc., depending on your browser. If you save the file, it will be available to you for use in your spreadsheet or database in the location you choose with the name you specify. If you associate a helper application (or whatever terminology your browser uses) with files of type text/tab-separated-values, the browser will automatically start that application as soon as it gets a file of type text/tab-separated-values. (If you already have a helper application defined for files of type text/tab-separated-values, that application will be started automatically.)

If you save the file, you may rename the file - contrib.txt or expend.txt - to a name that is more meaningful to your application. Once saved, the file is ready to import into your spreadsheet or database at your convenience.

With most browsers, you may configure a "helper application" or "viewer" to allow your spreadsheet or database to run directly from the browser. The terminology used in each browser is different. To set up a helper application, you will need to follow your browser's instructions. Some browsers ask for only one "type" or "mime type", which is text/tab-separated-values. A few ask for both "mime type", which is text, and "submime type", which is tab-separated-values. A few ask for file extension, which is txt. Note - do not supply file extension unless your browser requires it - most browsers do not, even if they ask for it. Choose the application that you wish the browser to run whenever it encounters files of type text/tab-separated-values. Once you have associated an application with mime type text/tab-separated-values, the browser automatically runs that application when you submit a query requesting results in spreadsheet format.

You may also choose to capture the data directly from the screen instead of requesting it in spreadsheet (tab-separated) format. Most browsers allow you to save the file you are currently viewing, using the "Save As..." command. If you specify txt as the suffix, many browsers save the file in space-delimited text format. (If you specify another suffix, the file is saved in HTML format.) The file which was saved from the screen is then ready for further use. Another method of capturing the data is to select the text on the browser screen, copy it to the clipboard using the [ctrl-c] command, then paste it into the document you wish using the [ctrl-v] command.

The functioning of each of these formats and methods described for capturing and downloading data is dependent on your browser and the application in which the data is being used. You may have to experiment to find the combination of method and format that works best for you.