Take the 2-minute tour ×
Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. It's 100% free, no registration required.

My company just upgraded to Office 2007 and now I am no longer able to easily manipulate and create dbf's. I do not understand MS's decision by removing this capability but alas there is no use crying over spilled milk. I ask everyone here, what do you use (preferably free) to fill all your dbf needs?

share|improve this question

12 Answers 12

up vote 8 down vote accepted

For opening and editing, Open Excel 2007 and simply drag the dbf file to it.

To create a new DBF file (http://www.excelforum.com/excel-2007-help/643473-save-as-dbf.html):

  • In Excel 2007, Go to "file > Save As.." and choose .csv

  • Now open Access 2007 and Choose import data and select the csv file

  • The data then loads into a table and from there you can export the data from Access into a DBF file! Choosing either DBF3, DBF4, DBF5

share|improve this answer
    
If you are going to import into Access I personally see little reason to export to CSV first. In Access you can directly load\link to an Excel worksheet then do the export to dbf. Just saves you one more step where you can potentially mess up. –  Hornbydd Aug 19 '13 at 16:11

I've used Open Office for working with dbf files.

share|improve this answer
    
Open Office Calc will work like 'old' versions of Excel and allow you to edit and save the .dbf directly. –  Darren Cope Nov 8 '10 at 17:42
    
I disagree with the users Zachary and Darren Cope. OpenOffice (OO) can be used to edit DBF files, and I have done it. However, my experiences with OO + DBF files - which were part of ESRI shapefiles - have always been awful: for me it never worked. –  dariapra Nov 8 '10 at 19:19
    
Open Office is what I use all the time now. No problems manipulating DBFs yet. –  Don Meltz Nov 9 '10 at 0:14
2  
@dariapra: your comment applies to editing .dbfs in Excel as well--it's not the program used to edit the .dbf that causes the problem, it's that shapefiles get quite upset if you go and edit the .dbf in an 'outside' program. –  Darren Cope Nov 10 '10 at 1:58
    
Open Office is Excellent all around, I have entirely replaced MS with this on my home and school computers. You can edit dbfs. AS stated above bad things can happen if you don't know what you are doing and start editting shapefile dbfs directly –  badkins Apr 8 '11 at 12:28

for editing, either of these two is handy (never tried to create):

http://www.pablosoftwaresolutions.com/html/dbf_explorer.html

http://sdteffen.de/gtkdbfeditor/index_en.html

share|improve this answer

I've used this add in to save to dbf created by the theXLwiz.

share|improve this answer

I load my xls, xlsx file into arcmap and open the attribute table, hide any columns that are unwanted, select only rows with data (sometimes it shows extra null rows), and then export data (choose the dbf type).

share|improve this answer

Google Docs - docs.google.com upload .xls(.xlsx save download dbf.) or Jakub's method

share|improve this answer
    
How secure is this method, I typically use spread sheets that are loaded with proprietary information. I dont want google spitting it out on the web. –  Furlong Nov 9 '10 at 17:59
    
You can make it private - what says google don't know whats on your hard-drive already? CIA & GCHQ do.The only real secure way is OFFLINE. This was an intermediate solution to get a .dbf from excel 2007 (then delete it off google docs). –  Mapperz Nov 9 '10 at 20:13
    
As far as I can tell, this option is no longer available - privacy issues aside, google docs does not show a .dbf download option for me. I see Excel, OpenOffice, PDF, CSV, Text and HTML. So Access or a third-party software are the only options. –  Rudi Jun 12 '12 at 10:55

I've been using R. In the core packages there is a package called foreign which enables you to read/write dbf files with ease. You can read a dbf file that is associated with a shapefile, and completely overwrite it without problems (assuming that you do not delete a row). You can also just output a dataframe into dbf format, which I sometimes do as it is a compact data format. The code is as follows, where dataframe is your data, and file is the filename:

write.dbf(dataframe, file, factor2char = TRUE, max_nchar = 254)
share|improve this answer

I've successfully used the FoxPro ODBC driver to connect to a folder full of DBFs. There are a few caveats if you're going to delete rows (make sure the DBF driver posts the deletes, not just the diffs) but otherwise it's not too bad.

You can connect from other clients beyond Office, too, which is handy for scripting purposes and the like.

share|improve this answer

I sometimes use Infolib, or more accurately the command line dbf2info utilities created from infolib, by Randy Deardorff of the US Environment Protection Agency, circa 1998. Although ostensibly written only for the 'info' in arcinfo, it works with plain text files too. Unfortunately the windows binaries don't work on 64bit windows.

-=[ INFOLIB.BAT ]=-

        AVAILABLE INFOLIB COMMANDS (recall by typing "infolib")

        ascii2info   dbf2info     dbfitems     dbflist
        dbflook      info2ascii   info2dbf     infodel
        infodir      infoitems    infolist     infolook

I couldn't find an existing internet host for these tools, so I put the stuff from my stash up at google code: http://code.google.com/p/infolib/ (binaries too).

Update: Credits for infolib proper goes to Todd Stellhorn of ESRI, with Randy being responsible for the tool collection. From the readme "These programs make extensive use of a public domain C package for direct INFO access called infolib written by Todd Stellhorn of ESRI."

share|improve this answer

I used to use a program called DBF Viewer plus, it sounds similar to DBF Manager, I haven't used it for a couple of years, so not sure if still available

it's available from here http://www.alexnolan.net/software/

share|improve this answer

DBF Manager is able to view, edit, create dBase and FoxPro including Visual FoxPro databases.

http://www.dbfmanager.com/

share|improve this answer
  1. Save yourxls as a csv
  2. Open the csv with Notepad and save as yourcsv.txt
  3. From the Command Window in dBase, CREA yourdbf, and define the fields, types and widths matching those in yourxls; Ctrl-W to save
  4. APPE FROM yourcsv DELI
  5. BROW to check the data. Done! Make sure you have the level for native dBase files set to 4 in the BDE Config tab (7 is now the default) for dBase tables or ArcView 3.x will not recognize the dbf. Also comply with field naming rules in dBase (max width 10, no spaces or special chars).
share|improve this answer
    
-1 If the asker wants to use Excel to create/manipulate DBF files, it is probably a safe assumption that dBase isn't installed/available. –  user3461 Aug 19 '13 at 15:46
    
True, but it is available at dbase.com - they are doing a great job of updating the software. I can't live without it. –  Don Pickenpaugh Aug 19 '13 at 16:08

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.