Converting .csv data for use with List

August 19th, 2006

Question: I am trying to create a database from a .csv file, how do I do this?

Answer: There is a program called listdb.exe which is part of the download for List. It is a DOS program that can convert .csv format files into List format .pdb files.

Its not terribly user friendly, and there isn’t really any good documentation.

  • From the Start menu on windows – select Run, use this to execute the ‘cmd’ program.
  • Navigate to the folder where you have the listdb.exe program using the ‘cd’ command.
  • If you run listdb on its own, you’ll see some mini-help:

C:\Documents and Settings\Andrew Low\My Documents\list>listdb.exe
Version 0.97a
Usage: listdb.exe -[p|c|x]
-p => create private (non-beamable) database
-c => create database
-x => extract database

At this point – if you are totally lost – you’ll need to find some help. Hopefully someone can give you a hand wrangling a DOS program.
The .csv format needs to have some special formatting in it (mostly the first line). Let’s look at an example .csv file to get an idea of what is involved here.

C:\Documents and Settings\Andrew Low\My Documents\list>type cd_list.csv
CD List,Artist,Title,Home,Work,Car,,,,,,,,,,,,
Home,Download,Furnace,A breakthrough album
Home,Skinny Puppy,Too Dark Park,Classic puppy album
Home,Skinny Puppy,Inquisition,Single remixes
Basically its:
Database Name,Field 1 Name,Field 2 Name,Category1,Category2,…

Then all other rows are:
Category,Field 1 Text,Field 2 Text,Note Text

Extra commas in the note field, are converted into carriage returns.
Hint: If you use the -x (extract) flag to take apart an existing database, it will dump things in the correct format giving you a template of sorts to work from.

Entry Filed under: FAQ

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Scott Crevier  |  September 2nd, 2006 at 2:33 am

    Looking for listdb.exe. It’s not “part of the download for List” as stated above (not in the ZIP file anyway). Where can I get it?

  • 2. Andreas Schaarschmidt  |  September 3rd, 2006 at 3:52 pm

    For another companion program look
    But it needs listdb.exe too.

  • 3. roo  |  September 7th, 2006 at 1:31 pm

    Apologies – an oversight on my part in the last release. If you look in a previous release you can get listdb.exe.

    [Version 1.1.2 contains listdb.exe]

  • 4. Joe Bramblett  |  February 4th, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Any chance you might release enough information about the file format for those of us wih Linux to maybe hack something together to retrieve data from List?

  • 5. roo  |  February 5th, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Well, the source is available – and the format hasn’t changed in ages. There are existing perl scripts listed on the download page which will work fine on Linux.

  • 6. Eric Backus  |  February 10th, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    Joe, the listdb program mentioned above also runs on Linux. I have an old copy that I’ve used for years. I assume the souce code is still available somewhere in the list package? If not, let me know and I can give you the souce code or an RPM for listdb.

  • 7. Jeaneene  |  April 6th, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    I’m having some trouble with the ListPC program … if I create my own list, I can NOT get it to alphabetize. If I alphabetize it on the PC and then sync to my Palm, there goes the alphabetization! Can you help?

  • 8. roo  |  April 10th, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    That is a bit odd – I suspect the ListPC program isn’t laying out the records as List expects. (it is a 3rd party program after all). There is a simple ‘hack’ you can do to fix the order.

    On your Palm device, go to the list that you’ve created. Now use the Menu->Customize option to change the Display order. When you hit Done, List will re-sort your list.

    Then go back and do this again to get to the sort order you want.

  • 9. Kim  |  January 26th, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    I used ListPC to convert csv to pdb and then installed the pdb files on my Palm, but they’re not showing up in List. Is there an easy fix out there?

  • 10. roo  |  January 27th, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    My guess is that you installed the pdb files onto the memory card, and not into the ‘main memory’ of the device. List can only see files that are stored in the main memory.

  • 11. Kim  |  January 27th, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks – I actually found them today named “Imported List 1” and “Imported List 2” – I’ve renamed them and they work perfectly!! So many lists I didn’t notice them at first!!

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