Edit columns in Notepad++ with TextFX plugin

Working with data in columns is usually not something you do in a text editor. An application like Excel has a lot more advanced features and is probably more suitable in most cases. However, Notepad++ with the TextFX plugin makes it quick and easy to do simple column editing.

At work we use JIRA for task management. I often have to create new or edit existing tables in task descriptions. Tables are created in a quite visual way by using vertical line | characters. In this example I have a table where I need to change the order of the columns and sort the data. I also use this method when working with CSV files. This is how I do it in a few, simple steps.

Edit Columns in Notepad++
1. Select the character that separates “columns” and copy it to the clipboard (CTRL+C), in this example the vertical line | character is copied to the clipboard.

Edit Columns in Notepad++
2. Select all the text (CTRL+A) and click TextFXTextFX EditLine up multiple lines by (Clipboard Character).

Edit Columns in Notepad++
3. The text is now lined up by the character you selected, in this example the vertical line | character. The text now actually looks like a table with columns.

Edit Columns in Notepad++
4. Hold ALT while you use the mouse to select the “columns” to be moved. You can also hold ALT+SHIFT and use the arrow keys to select instead of using the mouse. Cut the text (CTRL+X).

Edit Columns in Notepad++
5. Hold ALT while you use the mouse to select the “column” where the text should be inserted. You can also hold ALT+SHIFT and use the arrow keys to select instead of using the mouse. In this example you won’t actually select any text, just the empty column at the start of each line where the text should be inserted. Paste the text (CTRL+V).

Edit Columns in Notepad++
6. Select all the text (CTRL+A) and click TextFXTextFX ToolsSort lines case insensitive (at column).

Edit Columns in Notepad++
7. The text is now sorted alphabetically, in this example by the first two “columns”.

Edit Columns in Notepad++
8. Click SearchReplace (CTRL+H), choose Regular expression in the Search Mode and replace all “ +\|” (space, plus sign, backslash, vertical line – do not include quotation marks) with “|” (vertical line – do not include quotation marks). This replaces all instances where there are multiple spaces followed by a vertical line with just a vertical line.

Edit Columns in Notepad++
9. The end result has the same format as the original text, but columns have been moved and data has been sorted.

SQL Server Heroes

T-SQL TuesdayWhat day is it? It’s T-SQL Tuesday again! This time hosted by Tracy McKibben (@RealSQLGuy). Did you know that October 14th is also Ada Lovelace Day? I didn’t know that until I read about this month’s T-SQL Tuesday topic: your heroes. Who do I admire, who inspires me, who do I strive to be like?

Volunteers. The thousands of people who spend their free time organizing events, writing blogs and helping strangers. I remember watching the PASS Summit 2013 introduction video where they counted the volunteer hours and they just kept counting and counting and counting… and counting. 500000+ volunteer hours! Five hundred thousand plus hours! I was shocked. That was the first time I realized that PASS and the SQL Server community was more than just a technical conference.

Thank you, volunteers. All of you. Whether you’re a PASS board of directors member, a blogger, a SQLSaturday room attendant, a superstar speaker or a user group administrator, you’re my heroes in the SQL Server community. Without you, there would be no events, no free training, no community. Thank you for inspiring me to be a volunteer as well.

BI Over Beers Biml edition in Seattle on November 3

BI Over Beers Biml edition
Register here

Are you interested in Biml and attending PASS Summit 2014? Join BI Over Beers (BIOB) at the Tap House Grill in Downtown Seattle on Monday, November 3rd from 6-9pm. You’ll have the opportunity to meet and talk with BI professionals from all over the world, and Varigence will provide food, drinks and even give-aways!

I’m very much looking forward to this, will I see you there? :)

Stacia Misner week in Oslo!

SQL Server User Group NorwayStacia Misner is a SQL Server MVP, SSAS Maestro, consultant, educator and author – and she’s in Oslo this week! You do not want to miss out these amazing opportunities to learn from one of the best:

Join the SQL Server User Group Norway meeting on September 24th where Stacia will present Multidimensional vs. Tabular Reporting: May the Best Model Win! Register here.

On September 25th, Stacia will visit Webstep for a 4-hour free workshop divided in 3 parts: Building a BI Solution in the Cloud, Best Practices for Building Analytic Solutions and Troubleshooting MDX Query Performance.

See you there!

Speaking at SQLSaturday #341 Porto

I'm speaking at SQLSaturday #341 Porto, Portugal!I’m super excited, proud and honored to announce that I will present my session Generate SSIS packages automatically with Biml and BimlScript at SQLSaturday #341 Porto (Portugal) on October 18th, 2014!

This is the first time I have been selected to speak at a SQLSaturday, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity to share my knowledge about a topic that I believe is a huge leap forward in the world of Business Intelligence development. I was amazed the first time I saw a demonstration of Biml, and I’m so happy that I get to pay it forward and hopefully inspire others to try using Biml at work – I promise, it will save you time.

I can’t wait to meet everyone at #SQLSatPortugal. Please say hi if you see me! :)

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