I'm working with dBASE (.dbf) files for a project using a GIS software because it seems that they are more efficient. I've converted several .xml files to .dbf with OpenOffice 3.4 and loaded into the GIS however in some columns, the fields that appeared with different numbers in Open Office, turn to a series of one (1) in the GIS attribute table.

This is an example of my first row of one element:


I think that changing the first row of every columns of my .dbf file I can set up the properties.

First question:

I would like to know what does it means every character. I know that the first (e.g. Na) is the name of the field, N is probably the type? Number? I've no idea about the third and the forth (red and blue arrows).

Second question:

Why if I write Na when I load the file it become NA, with capitalized letters?

.dbf open with OpenOffice

Thanks a lot!


Do NOT directly manipulate the .dbf-files. There is an ODBC driver that does all the low-level work for you. Save yourself the headaches.

| improve this answer | |
  • How can I adjust it whit this ODBC driver? Note that my file was originally an .xlm – G M Sep 27 '13 at 9:25
  • I think you are looking for this: dbase.com/Knowledgebase/INT/db7_file_fmt.htm – Twinkles Sep 27 '13 at 12:17
  • Thanks a lot, I'm not really sure about the interpretation but from that it seems that N is the type 6 Field length in binary (a number with 6 digits?) and 2 Field decimal count in binary so my example seems formatted for a number like this 100000.00 ; I'm right? – G M Sep 27 '13 at 13:30

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