Convert variable length record ASCII files to fixed length

Last Published: April 25, 2020


Certain operations in ArcInfo create ASCII files in variable record length format. Some applications are not able to import these as they require a fixed record length file. For example, USGS DEM files created with ArcInfo cannot be imported by some applications because of the variable record length format.


The following command can perform the conversion under most UNIX systems:

 dd if=latdem.out of=usgsdem cbs=1024 conv=block
- "if" is the input file (result from Arc LATTICEDEM command)
- "of" is the reformatted file

Your operating system may provide other utilities to convert from variable length records to fixed length. Contact your system administrator or the OS vendor for specific details.

PCs don't usually have any native capability to translate formats. A web search may produce some free or shareware utilities that can do the conversion.

Article ID:000002018

  • ArcMap 8 x

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