You can open Minitab files, Microsoft Excel files, and text files directly in Minitab. Minitab can import up to 4000 columns. The number of cells that Minitab can import is limited by your available memory address space.

When you open a file, the file's contents are copied into the project. Therefore, if you change the data or graph contents within a project, you do not affect the original file.

Open an Excel file (XLS, XLSX, XML)

If the Excel file contains multiple sheets, you can control the import of each sheet separately.

  1. Choose File > Open.
  2. Browse to and select the Excel file.
  3. Click Open.
    The Open Excel File dialog box displays the first Excel sheet. Each sheet has its own tab.
  4. For each sheet, follow these steps:
    • If the Excel file contains more than one sheet, and you don't want to import a sheet, deselect Import this sheet.
    • Specify the range of rows to import in First row to import and Last row to import.
    • If the first row of data to import contains the column names, select Data has column names.
    • If you don't want to import a column, deselect the column checkbox.
    • To change the data type of a column, select a different data type from the drop-down list (Numeric, Text, or Date Time).
    • To see a preview of the Minitab worksheet, click Preview Minitab worksheet.
  5. Click Options to change any of the following data cleaning settings for the file that you are opening:
    • What values represent missing data in your file? Minitab uses * for missing numeric and date/time values, and a blank space for missing text values. If your file does not follow these conventions, specify the missing value conventions for the Numeric columns and for the Text columns in the file. For example, if you enter 999, Minitab converts all instances of 999 to the missing value symbol *.
    • Do not import blank rows: Select this option if you don't want to import blank rows.
    • Add missing values to make the number of rows the same across all columns: Select this option to add missing values to shorter columns so that all columns have the same number of rows.
    • Remove nonprintable characters and extra spaces: Select this option to remove nonprintable characters and extra spaces from text columns. Nonprintable characters may be embedded in text when you import text from external sources. Single spaces between words will remain.
    • Correct case mismatches: Select this option to correct letter case mismatches in text columns by applying the capitalization of the first occurrence of a text value to all matching values in the column. This option applies only to data in the columns, not to the column names. For example, if the first three values in a column are Red red RED, and you select this option, the values are imported as Red Red Red.
  6. Click OK in each dialog box.
Tip

To change the default settings for importing files, choose Tools > Options > Open.

Open a text file (CSV, TXT, DAT)

Minitab can open plain text (ANSI or Unicode) files, which have an extension of .txt (text), .dat (data), or .csv (comma separated values). If the data that you want to use are in a file with an extension that is not in the drop-down list, try saving the data as a text file and then importing it. Most applications can create text files.

  1. Choose File > Open.
  2. Browse to and select the text file.
  3. Click Open.
    The Open Text File dialog box displays a representation of the text file.
  4. Specify the range of rows to import in First row to import and Last row to import.
  5. If the first row of data to import contains the column names, select Data has column names.
  6. From Field delimiter, select the character that separates the values in the text file. If you select Custom, enter a custom character. Minitab interprets two consecutive separators as missing data.
  7. From Text qualifier, select the character that delineates text values. Text qualifiers are necessary only if the text value includes embedded field delimiters. For example, if the field delimiter is a space, and the text value is John Smith, then the text value needs to be enclosed in text qualifiers.
  8. From Decimal separator, select the character that is used to separate the integer portion and decimal portion of a number. By default, Minitab uses the separator that is specified in your computer's regional settings.
  9. If you don't want to import a column, deselect the column checkbox.
  10. To change the data type of a column, select a different data type from the drop-down list ( Numeric, Text, or Date Time).
  11. To see a preview of the Minitab worksheet, click Preview Minitab worksheet.
  12. Click Options to change any of the following data cleaning settings for the file that you are opening:
    • What values represent missing data in your file? Minitab uses * for missing numeric and date/time values, and a blank space for missing text values. If your file does not follow these conventions, specify the missing value conventions for the Numeric columns and for the Text columns in the file. For example, if you enter 999, Minitab converts all instances of 999 to the missing value symbol *.
    • Do not import blank rows: Select this option if you don't want to import blank rows.
    • Add missing values to make the number of rows the same across all columns: Select this option to add missing values to shorter columns so that all columns have the same number of rows.
    • Remove nonprintable characters and extra spaces: Select this option to remove nonprintable characters and extra spaces from text columns. Nonprintable characters may be embedded in text when you import text from external sources. Single spaces between words will remain.
    • Correct case mismatches: Select this option to correct letter case mismatches in text columns by applying the capitalization of the first occurrence of a text value to all matching values in the column. This option applies only to data in the columns, not to the column names. For example, if the first three values in a column are Red red RED, and you select this option, the values are imported as Red Red Red.
  13. Click OK in each dialog box.
Tip

To change the default settings for importing files, choose Tools > Options > Open.

Open a Minitab file (MPJ, MTW, MGF)

To open a Minitab project file (MPJ), worksheet file (MTW), or graph file (MGF), choose File > Open and browse to and select the file.

Note

To open a Minitab sample data set, choose Help > Sample Data.

You can open files that were created in previous releases of Minitab as follows:
  • Projects (MPJ) from Minitab release 15 and forward
  • Worksheets (MTW) from Minitab Release 13 and forward
  • Graphs (MGF) from Minitab Release 14 and forward

To open a file that was created in a newer release of Minitab than the one you have, you must save the file in the format of the release that you have. For example, if you want a Minitab 17 user to open a Minitab 18 project file, open the project in Minitab 18 and save the file as a Minitab 17 project.

Open worksheets that are stored in a Minitab project

To open worksheets that are stored in a Minitab project without opening the project file, complete the following steps.

  1. Choose File > Open.
  2. From the file type drop-down list, select Minitab Worksheets.
  3. Browse to and select the project file (MPJ), then click Open.
  4. Select one or more worksheets to open. You can do the following to learn more about a worksheet:
    • Click Preview to see what the worksheet will look like in Minitab.
    • If the worksheet has a description, click Description to view it.
  5. Click OK.
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