Do you have any tips about using the Tab-delimited Batch Upload feature in PARS?

Last Revised: 
November 11, 2011

Yes. The ACCME has put together several tools for you to use related to uploading your activity data in batches using the Tab-Delimited Batch Upload feature in PARS. If you have not already viewed the video tutorial on Tab-delimited Batch Uploading we strongly recommend that you take the time to view it now (the video is approx 16 minutes long).  In addition, below we have provided a Tab-delimited File Upload Instructions ('Upload Instructions') document which walks you through the process.  

The following notes and guidelines are offered for providers who choose to upload activity data into PARS using a tab-delimited text file format. Although we reference the Tab-Delimited Activity File Template ('Excel Template') below, this information is applicable regardless of the method used to create a text upload file. Adhering to these guidelines will reduce the potential for validation errors during the file upload process. These tips can be found on pages 7-8 of the Upload Instructions:

  • The tab delimited text file must be saved and uploaded as a .txt file.  

  • Each activity record must have the minimum number of fields required as specified in the instructions for the version of the template being used.  Even if data is not required in a field, the system will expect the field to appear in the record with a blank (NULL) value, and the null value should be separated by tab-delimiters.   If you use the Excel Template file, leave the cells that do not contain data completely blank (do not enter a zero or a space – enter no character at all). The columns left empty will create the appropriate blank (or null) values automatically when you save the file as a tab-delimited .txt file. 

    Note: It is possible for a record to exceed the minimum number of required fields if the last eight fields are repeated for multiple sources of commercial support.

  • If you are reporting details about your activities’ sources of commercial support, and an activity receives commercial support from multiple sources, then the final eight columns must be repeated for each source of commercial support. It is important to include ALL of the columns for EVERY source of commercial support, even if they must be left blank because they were not applicable to the support received from that source.

  • Number values cannot include commas. Currency amounts cannot include $ characters or commas. 

  • When you prepare an Excel file that will be used to create a tab-delimited .txt file for upload to PARS, there are certain characters that should be avoided in the text entries. These characters, known as control codes, impart formatting to text within a cell and can include tabs within cells, carriage returns, and line feeds. When your Excel file is saved in tab-delimited .txt format, these characters will cause the columns and rows in your .txt file to break unexpectedly, and you will receive validation errors when you attempt to upload the file. Control characters should be removed from text in Excel before you create the .txt file for upload.

  • Do not re-arrange the order in which the columns appear in the Excel Template. If you add any columns to the spreadsheet during your data entry process (other than repeating columns for additional sources of commercial support), the columns must be removed prior to creating the .txt file for upload.

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