Format file structure

Format files consist of ASCII text. You can create and edit the contents of a format file using a text editor. Limit individual lines of text to no more than 128 characters.

Some lines of text start with directives. For example, the words that have a preceding period. Directives must be lower case. Directives are usually state significant; that is, they require other directives to precede and follow them.

Usually, data fields follow the directives. You can separate these data fields with white space. You should always enclose the fields that contain spaces in quotation marks.

Format files are structured in four sections: General Directives, Header Definition, Record Definition, and Footer Definition.