Wolfram Language & System 10.0 (2014)|Legacy Documentation

This is documentation for an earlier version of the Wolfram Language.View current documentation (Version 11.2)

DBF (.dbf)

  • Import fully supports the DBF format Version 4 and later.


    MIME types: application/dbf, application/dbase
    dBASE DBF data files.
    Legacy file format for storing and exchanging structured data.
    ASCII format.
    Native format of the dBASE database management application.
    Stores numerical datasets in a portable format.
    dBASE IV was introduced in 1988.

Import and ExportImport and Export

  • Import["file.dbf"] imports a DBF file, returning all datasets arranged as a table.
  • Import["file.dbf"] returns a table, with each column representing a dataset.
  • DBF data is represented in the Wolfram Language by real or integer numbers, strings, Boolean values True and False, and DateList specifications.
  • Import["file.dbf",elem] imports the specified element from a DBF file.
  • Import["file.dbf",{elem,suba,subb,}] imports a subelement.
  • Import["file.dbf",{{elem1,elem2,}}] imports multiple elements.
  • The import format can be specified with Import["file","DBF"] or Import["file",{"DBF",elem,}].
  • See the reference pages for full general information on Import.
  • ImportString supports the DBF format.


  • General Import elements:
  • "Elements"list of elements and options available in this file
    "Rules"full list of rules for each element and option
    "Options"list of rules for options, properties, and settings
  • Data representation elements:
  • "Data"datasets arranged as a table
    "LabeledData"datasets given as a list of rules
  • Import uses the element by default.
  • Import["file.dbf"] reads all datasets and returns them as a table.
  • Import["file.dbf","LabeledData"] imports the entire file and returns an expression of the form , where the are the table headings.
  • Meta-information elements:
  • "Labels"dataset names given as a list of strings
  • The DBF format can store labels of length 10 or shorter.


  • Import option:
  • "EmptyField"""how empty cells are represented in the Wolfram Language

ExamplesExamplesopen allclose all

Basic Examples  (1)Basic Examples  (1)

Get the list of available Import formats:

Click for copyable input

Import data from a DBF file:

Click for copyable input

Import the column labels as a list of strings:

Click for copyable input

Read this file as a list of labeled datasets, giving a rule for each column:

Click for copyable input
Introduced in 2007