DBF (.dbf)

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 fully supports the DBF format Version 4 and later.

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 Mathematica 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 Mathematica

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
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