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Format Files for Importing or Exporting Data

A file that is used to store format information for each field in a data file relative to a specific table is called a format file. A format file provides all the format information that is required to bulk export or bulk import data. A format file provides a flexible system for writing data files that requires little or no editing to comply with other data formats or to read data files from other software.

The topics in this section describe the different types of format files that SQL Server 2005 supports, the structure and syntax of these files, and how to use them for bulk-import operations.

Topic Description

Introduction to Format Files

Introduces the types of format files, describes the advantages of XML format files, and describes when a format file is required.

Understanding Non-XML Format Files

Contains descriptions of non-XML format files, the original form of format file in Microsoft SQL Server.

Understanding XML Format Files

Contains descriptions of the syntax of XML format files and provides examples of XML format files.

Working with Format Files

Contains instructions about how to use format files for typical bulk-import operations.

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