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Export to a fixed width text file

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Hi. I have a fairly simple problem, but haven't figured out how to solve it.
I would like to convert a cell array to a text file with fixed width columns. For example, the first row might contain a mixture of strings and numbers:
's09' 1111222003 321 'P' 'ehz'
and I want to have five spaces between the first and second columns, seven spaces between the second and third, and 3 spaces between the third and fourth. The reason for this is because I am converting the data into a very finicky format.
Thanks for any help in advance.

Accepted Answer

Jonathan Sullivan
Jonathan Sullivan on 28 May 2013
Edited: Jonathan Sullivan on 28 May 2013
Use sprintf / fprintf
Here is an example of making everything 16 characters wide:
A={'s09' 1111222003 321 'P' 'ehz';'z09' 1011222003 321 'O' 'edz'};
A=cellfun(@num2str,A,'Un',false)
for ii = 1:size(A,1);
B{ii} = sprintf([repmat('%16s',1,size(A,2)) '\n'],A{ii,:});
end
B = cat(2,B{:})
The number (16) between the % and the s determines the width that it will print out the entry. For more information type
help sprintf
doc sprintf
or
help fprintf
doc fprintf
  1 Comment
Jesse Hutchinson
Jesse Hutchinson on 28 May 2013
Thanks a bunch. I ended up choosing to keep the string and number data separate and used fprintf to generate my text file. This is the final bit of code:
[nrows,ncols] = size(pickcat);
filename = 'test.arrival';
fid = fopen(filename,'w');
for row=1:nrows
fprintf(fid,'%-6s %17.5f %8d %8d %8d %8d %-8s %-8s %-1s %6.3f %7.2f %7.2f %7.2f %7.2f %7.2f %7.3f %10.1f %7.2f %7.2f %-1s %-2s %10.5g %-1s %-15s %8d %17.5f\n',pickcat{row,:});
end
fclose(fid);
As you can see, I had quite a complex data set! Thanks so much for the help.

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More Answers (1)

Iman Ansari
Iman Ansari on 28 May 2013
A={'s09' 1111222003 321 'P' 'ehz';'z09' 1011222003 321 'O' 'edz'};
A=cellfun(@num2str,A,'Un',false)
B=strcat(A(:,1),{' '},A(:,2),{' '},A(:,3),{' '},A(:,4),A(:,5))
  2 Comments
Iman Ansari
Iman Ansari on 28 May 2013
A={'s09' 1111222003 321 'P' 'ehz';'ere09' 11222003 31 'O' 'dz'};
for i=1:2
B(i,:)=sprintf('%-5s %-12d %-3d %-s %-3s',A{i,1},A{i,2},A{i,3},A{i,4},A{i,5})
end

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