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Importing a CSV File into Tap Forms

A few people have asked me how to import their CSV files into Tap Forms. Here's a quick guide to get you going in the right direction.

Before you transfer your file to Tap Forms, make sure your CSV file has the following properties:

  1. Has a .csv file extension (lowercase .csv in version 1.6).
  2. Encoding matches encoding of set in the Import & Export Settings screen.
  3. Includes a header row defining the field names and types (optional) you would like to have in your form.
  4. If you're importing dates, your import data format should be set correctly in the Import & Export Settings screen.

You can build a header row such as this (including a couple of sample records):

Movie Name<text>,Release Date<date>,Is Great Movie<check_mark>
The Dark Knight,07/18/2008,Y
The English Patient,11/22/1996,N

Valid Field Types are:

  • text
  • number
  • date
  • time
  • check_mark
  • contact
  • web_site
  • note
  • phone (should be all digits without formatting)

The field type in the header row of your CSV file must match exactly one of the field types above. If the field type doesn't match or is unspecified, text will be used instead.

If you define your header row on your PC to be the field names that you'd like to see in Tap Forms and also give them a field type, then Tap Forms will do most of the work for you. The only thing you need to do on the iPhone itself is create a new form, give it a name and pick an icon.

On the Edit Form screen you'll see an action menu icon (a little arrow in the top-right corner). Tap that and then you'll see "Import Records". Selecting your .csv file will then bring you to the Import screen. You'll see how many rows there are (less the first header row), the file size, and a big green Import button. Tap that and Tap Forms will auto-create the fields for you and import the records.

155 Responses to “Importing a CSV File into Tap Forms”

  1. Ian Todd says:

    Hi Brendan

    Thanks for the fast response. That’s not a major problem for me right now, however, as far as features go I’d say it’d be pretty important (at least for me) to be able to import the time for accurate time-stamping. Liking it so far, replaced a few other apps on my phone. Keep up the good work!


  2. Paul Fain says:

    Please outline the steps involved in setting up a web server file transfer from PC to Tap Forms. When I try, at the point of connection with server I receive the following message. However I have no idea what username and password it is looking for.

    A username and password are being requested by The site says: “”

  3. admin says:

    Hello Paul,

    I think you may have set a password on the Tools -> Web & FTP Settings area. Just go in and clear the username and password fields out and tap Save if you don’t want a username or password. Otherwise you can set them to whatever you like and then when your web browser asks you for them, just type whatever values you set for them.



  4. Paul Fain says:


    Thank you for a prompt reply. It was, as you suggested, a password issue in settings that caused the problem. I am enjoying my experience with Tap Forms, it is a well-developed product. I have for years used HanDBase on windows based PDAs and have developed many of my own databases. However, when I transitioned to the iPhone (iOS platform) I can no longer use my HanDBase applications. One thing I would like to see incorporated into Tap Forms would be a general number field that could be incremented or decremented by one number (ie +1 or -1) by each tap on the field. For my applications I use this type of field extensively.

    Thank you again for a great product.
    Paul Fain

  5. admin says:

    Hello Paul,

    Do you have an example screenshot of what this increment field would look like?



  6. Phoebe says:

    Okay, I’ve googled, read the help screens, and searched through this forum… I give up. I was hoping to be able to export to excel. I’m guessing it’s not direct, and that I need to export as a csv, but I just really need it to be spelled out how to do it! Whenever I export (using the backup button, is that correct?) I just get a file of type .sqlite. What am I doing wrong, please?

  7. admin says:

    Hello Phoebe,

    When you’re on the record list view (that’s the view where you see multiple records for the form that you’re viewing), tap on the action menu and select “Export Records”. That’ll generate a CSV file for you. The file will be stored in the Exports folder on the Files tab. Go there and then tap the “power” button at the bottom-left. That will turn on the web server built-in to Tap Forms. Then you just need to connect your favourite web browser up to the website address Tap Forms gives you. Type it in exactly as it says. When you see the web page that Tap Forms generates, click on the Exports link. You should see your CSV file there. Then click on it to download it. You may need to right-click on it to actually download it to your computer rather than just viewing it within your web browser.

    From there you can just open the file up within Excel.

    Hope that helps!


  8. Brian Morse says:

    Hi, I have been looking for a small db program to which would allow me to import a subset of my Filemaker Pro db. It sounds like this is quite possible. However, the imported data is of a sensitive nature (such as names, social security numbers & credit cards). Is it possible to import the csv file from a mac without using the internet? I may not understand FTP all that well, but doesn’t it send my data via the internet? Thanks.


  9. admin says:

    Hello Brian,

    Well, if you use the built-in FTP server or the built-in web server (the easier solution), your data will only be transmitted from your desktop, to your WiFi base station and then to your iPhone. It won’t go out onto the Internet. You should have a secure WiFi network though. Since you’re quite concerned about security, I imagine you already have locked down your WiFi network. Anyway, unless you have other people on your WiFi network, there’s no chance that your data will go out onto the Internet.



  10. Brian Morse says:

    Thanks for the quick reply. I am reassured. Another question regarding backup using SyncDocs. Can you possibly backup and restore an encrypted version of your databases?


  11. admin says:

    Hello Brian,

    If you have encrypted fields in the database, they will still be encrypted when stored on your computer. But please note, any fields not set as encrypted will be readable when stored in the database by external programs.



  12. Chuck says:

    Been using Tap Forms for year or two now. Very good application, but there are a couple of features that I really miss.

    1) Is there a way to keep specific databases automatically synced between multiple iPhones? That would increase the utility of Tap Forms.

    2) Is there a way to auto-fill fields? Fields like Record Creation Date/Time. Or Sequential record numbers.

  13. admin says:

    Hello Chuck,

    1. Well, you can sort of synchronize individual records from one device to the other by using the Beam Record function. I say sort of because I don’t handle deletes in a beaming situation. That means if you were to delete a field from a form on one device and beam it to the other, I won’t delete the field on the other device. But if a new field is added, I’ll add that. And if values are updated, I’ll update those values. At the moment it also won’t transmit photos, audio or file attachments, or linked records.

    2. My next update has exactly these new features (plus more).



  14. Ryan says:

    I love being able to build my CSV and them import it via Dropbox! Great work!

    I would love to see additional field capability specifically date_time and email. Also, I would love a way to link a “pick list” by prior to uploading my CSV by adding that info into the header or something.

    Not a huge deal, but I use your app to preset my work-orders for the day and it’s a mild bummer to have to relink all my pick lists every day, considering I’m using a blank version of the same CSV file each day.

  15. Greg says:

    Similar to Ryan’s request …

    How can I import 2 CSV files, one a “child form” with records linked by a “Link to Form” field in the other form?

  16. admin says:

    Hello Greg,

    You would have to do that from the linked field itself. Tap on the linked field from the parent record. You’ll see the list of records linked to that field. In the beginning it will say “0 records”. Tap the action menu button at the top-right and select “Import Records”. Then select the file that matches the structure of the form you’ve linked to. Note, you’ll have to make sure the CSV file is at the top-level of the Files area and NOT inside the Exports or Imports directory. That’s due to a bug I’ve fixed in my next upcoming release.

    I know that it would be more ideal to be able to import one file which links to all the parent records. I just haven’t had a chance to build that yet, so for now you need to import your linked file’s records into the parent record one parent record’s field at a time.



  17. Greg says:

    thx for prompt reply, Brendan

    Not really practical for 1000+ records, but hopefully possible sometime in the future.

    great product anyway ;-)

  18. jjrock says:

    Hi i’m realy sad you took SyncDocs out of the app. It was the only thing working for me. I don’t get it. Why remove something that worked.

  19. admin says:

    Hi JJRock,

    Because SyncDocs was a constant problem for many people. It didn’t reliably backup and restore. The new system works better because it’s more reliable. Simply create a backup file and copy it to your computer using either iTunes File Sharing or the built-in web server or FTP server in Tap Forms.

    Have you tried the new system yet?



  20. jjrock says:

    Hi Brendan

    Thanks for the quick replie.
    I’ve tried using a browser and a FTP client with no luck. Hm! I have to go through my network settings and firewall again. The only thing that was working was syncdoc that was running on my NAS.


  21. admin says:

    Hello JJRock,

    I’m not really sure a firewall running on your computer would have anything to do with accessing the web page generated by Tap Forms when you’ve turned on the web server. The address you use should be something like for the web server. Remember the :8080 part. That’s important.

    What error messages do you see when you try to connect?



  22. Gary says:

    Please can you advise whether Tap Forms can do this and also how to do it- . I have a range of MS Access databases which I Sync between my PC and my HP IPaq Pocket PC. I use the ‘Data on the Run’ program (from Biomobility) to do this – which is old software but truly robust and really easy to use ..but it does not work with iPhone/iPad. As my Ipaq is getting rather elderly I need to move on. I want to sync my databases between the PC and my IPad and iPhone4 – initially using the existing MS Access databases on my PC and then updating (wirelessly?) records regularly typically from the iPhone or iPad and keeping the PC up to date as a desktop option and permanent backup.
    Can Tap Forms do this? And are there instructions on how to do this?
    Many thanks

  23. admin says:

    Hello Gary,

    I’m sorry, but there’s no desktop equivalent of Tap Forms yet. And Tap Forms does not read MS Access database files natively. You would have to export your data as a CSV file from MS Access and import them into Tap Forms. If you made a change to a record in Tap Forms, you would have to export that and import that into MS Access. If you turn on the Export Record ID function in Tap Forms, the unique identifier for each row will also be exported. But then your MS Access program would have to know how to deal with it. If you were to just edit the data in MS Access, then you could then export the data as a CSV file again from MS Access and then import that file again into the same form you exported from last time. In that scenario, as long as the Record ID is there in the CSV file, Tap Forms will perform an update to your records instead of inserting new ones.



  24. Jeff says:

    My God the directions for importing a file are mindboggling! I’ve been working with computers since 1984. I’ve made a ton of money teaching others how to use computers and using them myself. I was a highly paid consultant until I retired. And what I see here is pure garbage. You must have never heard the word “elegant” because your software certainly isn’t. Change formats, drop back 3 yards and punt, go kiss your girlfriend and when you come back maybe it will actually work (about one in a million chances. That’s about how your directions sound. “Beam” the files onto my iPhone. I don’t have a transporter. It won’t import CSV files at all. There’s a standard for CSV files and you totally ignored that.

    I have data I have collected for decades I wanted access to. I certainly picked the wrong program to get it. I have a free program that will let me view the data with ease. I wanted to be able to edit it. Fat chance. Go ahead and tell me I’m the one that’s stupid. You must have translated your instructions into Chinese and then back again using a program you designed.

    Your program SUCKS! I want my money back.

  25. Jeff says:

    I have more to say. I am VERY good at computers and I have been for 26 years. But your software is like following a blind monkey through the jungle at night. I know how to create a CSV file. You expect extra stuff to be added to that file apparently. No matter what I do your software doesn’t recognize a simple comma delimited CSV file. That’s what you said to do. But it doesn’t work. And why on earth would you use a browser to transfer files? Maybe because you wrote the program in Braille and didn’t realize everyone else transfers with WiFi or through the USB cable. A BROWSER???? I feel like you should pay me for the last 3 hours I spent trying to get this thing to import a simple bit of data.

    Your program might be fine for saving data but it sure as heck won’t import any. Is your only market people that started using computers last week? Because those of us that have been at it a while have actual data files that include more than 2 recipes. Freaking moron.

  26. admin says:

    Hello Jeff,

    I’m sorry you feel this way.

    It’s really quite simple to import a CSV file into Tap Forms. The instructions at the top of this blog post simply tell you how you can format your CSV file in case you want to have Tap Forms auto-generate the field types for you during the import process. As far as standard CSV formats, there really isn’t one other than how to handle delimiters and carriage returns within a column by using quoting around your data. There’s also the issue of encoding.

    If there’s anything specific I can help you with I’m very happy to help. Did you get stuck somewhere during the CSV import process?

    “Beaming” is just a way to wirelessly transmit a form template and single record from one device to the other. It’s quite simple to use actually. You simply put one device into “Receive Beam” mode and the other into “Beam Record” mode. You will see a list of devices that are in “Receive Beam” mode (normally just one). Tapping on it will then wirelessly transmit the form template and record to the other device. It’s very simple.

    If you’re referring to the file encoding issue as being overly complex, I agree that file encoding can be a complex idea to understand. It’s really too bad that UTF-8 wasn’t created in the early days because it’s quite a good universal standard and can be used to store data in any language. That’s something that the old ASCII format just can’t handle.

    Thanks for your comments. I take all feedback into consideration whether they’re positive or negative. The important part for me is to engage with my customers to see if there’s something I can do which will help them to increase their satisfaction with Tap Forms. If there’s anything I can do in this regard to help you out, I’m all ears. Just email me at and we can further discuss your concerns.



  27. admin says:

    Hello Jeff,

    There are a number of ways you can transfer a file to Tap Forms. Using the web browser is just one way. You can also FTP the file to Tap Forms or you can use Dropbox. I really like using Dropbox because it’s very easy to drag a file into my Dropbox folder and then have immediate access to it from within Tap Forms.

    You don’t have to put the special codes into the header row if you don’t want to. If you don’t though, Tap Forms will assume all your columns will be text field types when auto-creating your form.

    However, if you first create your form in Tap Forms, you can use the Import Records command from the Customize Form screen to import your records into that specific form. Tap Forms will look at the header row for columns with the same names as your fields in your form. When it finds that, it will simply import the data into the existing form adding to the list of records you already have in that form.

    I hope some of this information is useful to you.

    Thanks again,


  28. Jeff says:

    What’s the point of having iTunes have a place to drag files for your program when they will not show up on the iPhone? I’ve been creating CSV files for at least 15 years and probably longer. I know what a comma delimited file is. Like I said I’ve been doing this for many years. I started with an original Mac with no hard drive and it had only been released a week when I got it. I ran a successful business with that Mac back in 1984. I even had a scanner that replaced the printer cartridge. That tells you how far back I go. I should have realized when you didn’t tell how files and data was imported that you would be using some totally off the wall method of doing it. I shouldn’t have to install other programs, run an FTP or run a web page just to transfer data. Just FYI both an FTP and a web page would require me to completely change the setup on my computer since I have a satellite internet connection and networks are practically impossible to run when you have that setup. Believe me I’ve been down that road. It’s not just a matter of connecting directly to my computer over wifi or bluetooth or anything else. My computer will only run from a router unless I connect directly to my modem and I had to go through 10 different routers to find one that would even do that. I don’t have a wireless setup on my computer and I’m not changing everything about my computer system to import data into your program. Sure I could run my computer directly off the satellite modem and then stick a wireless card in my computer and take up one of my two PCI slots but there’s no guarantee I’ll get a network to run anyway because the satellite modem is still likely to interfere with any network like it always has. I’ve tried this method before and it wouldn’t work but it has been a while. I could spend the next several hours trying to change what works now and hope I can change back if it doesn’t work. Instead I’ll just buy a modern program that actually transfers data through iTunes and consider the money I spent on your program a waste. Why is it so many other programs will let you transfer data so easily yet yours requires a full day of setup work to even start? What is the point of having iTunes show a box to transfer data to your program then not actually work? I know. I can transfer all my data to my web page on a server who knows where and transfer the data in using that IP address. And everytime I want to update my data on your program I’ll just delete the entire database and create a new one and import data after I upload it to that server again. Oh wait. It has to use wifi. So much for that. If you don’t see how complicated it is to do this you need to take the blinders off. I can transfer data to several program through iTunes and be using it on my iPhone in seconds. Yours will take hours to setup and it still probably won’t work like you say. Your program is obsolete. I don’t want to spend my life figuring out how to do something that should be incredibly simple.

    • Brendan says:

      Hello Jeff,

      I’m very sorry you also don’t like the way files get transferred to Tap Forms. The iTunes File Sharing feature is a great new addition to iTunes. When they didn’t have that option, I had to come up with other ways of transferring files to Tap Forms. So I put in a web server, an FTP server, and I added Dropbox integration to make it very easy for users to get files in and out of Tap Forms.

      I don’t really know why you need to be so harsh with your criticisms though. I do my best to support all my customers and I take their feedback and criticisms into consideration for all future updates. If you are requesting a new feature to be implemented whereby you could use iTunes File Sharing to easily transfer CSV files into Tap Forms, then that’s a good feature request and I’ll consider it for a future update. I agree, it would be a good feature to have.

      But to simply go on and on about how good of a computer user you are while at the same time telling me how terrible my app is, then I think maybe you should seriously consider whether Tap Forms is the right app for you. I’m not asking you to reconfigure your entire network just to use my app. I was merely providing you with a few different ways you could get your files into Tap Forms.

      Here’s another way, using iTunes File Sharing:

      You could create a backup file in Tap Forms on the Backup & Restore screen and then copy that backup file to your computer using iTunes File Sharing. Then unzip the file on your hard drive, copy your CSV files into the Share folder within the backup folder, then re-zip the backup folder, then copy it up to Tap Forms using iTunes File Sharing. Then in Tap Forms, go to the Backup & Restore area to restore that backup. Now the CSV file will be available to you on the Files tab. Tapping the blue circle icon on the right of the file will present to you the option to import the file. No changes to your network would be necessary.

      Many users ask me for many different features. I can’t implement them all. But everyone else who has requested a new feature has done so in a very polite and considerate way. They love using Tap Forms and only want it to get better with time, as do I, so they request feature enhancements. I decide which features would benefit the most users and decide when I can fit those into my development schedule.

      Have you considered just asking nicely if a particular feature could be implemented for you? Or do you find you get better results by insulting developers?

      Thanks again for your comments and criticisms.


  29. Jeff says:

    Look I gave you money for a program that is way more complicated than need be. Part of the reason I bought it was because it was advertised to accept imported data. If I’m impolite it’s because I don’t like spending money on things that were misrepresented. I find it hard to believe I’m the only one who’s had a problem with this. I only told you the stuff about my computer experience because it’s been part of my experience that programmers like to blame users for the faults of their programs. You won’t dismiss my claims by calling me a newbie. Just for the record why is it every review of your product that I can read comes from someone who gave it 5 stars? That makes me think you are hiding something. It makes me think you knew people had a problem and you covered it up. That’s what makes me impolite. If you were truly such a nice guy (as you claim) you would include a true list of reviews of your product. I feel like I was kept in the dark about a glaring problem with your software and now I know what it is. So how about this. Have you considered upgrading your product to the standard that has been the standard for quite a while now? Even simple, free programs can use iTunes to transfer data. And instead of hiding the problems with your software and hiding the way data transfers work you might include something in the description telling people how it works instead of letting them find out the hard way. I’ve bought a great many programs for my iPhone and yours is the only one I’ve found the need to be impolite about. And you claim it is “very easy for users to get files in and out of Tap Forms”??? Ha! That sounds about as honest as your description of your program. You’re right that your program is not right for me. I suspect that a lot of people feel that way but since you only include positive reviews it’s hard to say for sure. I know it is NOT easy to transfer files to your program.

    I don’t doubt there are some who have nothing better to do with their time than to setup complex systems to transfer data. I know a good program when I see one though. I’ve been paid to determine just that information for 15 years. Trust me your program would not be one I would recommend. Yes there are people who will go through the trouble to make it work. But I know it isn’t necessary to go through such complexities now. At least it isn’t for much more simple programs than yours.

    I only responded here because you seemed to want to help. But I see it didn’t take long for you to start insulting me either. Funny how you do the exact thing you say I shouldn’t do. I have a right to complain. I paid money for a program that was borderline falsely represented. Why did you hide all the negative comments? You don’t have a 5 star rating but all the reviews you listed gave you 5 stars. Funny how that works. That’s not being the upright programmer you claim to be. That’s misrepresentation. That’s why I complained.

  30. Donald says:

    Jeff, as an iPhone developer myself, I can assure you Brendan has zero control over what ratings appear at the top within iTunes or the App Store app on the iPhone. To suggest the positive reviews Tap Forms has received are related in any way to Brendan being anything other than an upright programmer or as being a misrepresentation of the Tap Forms app is outrageous. I do agree, if for whatever reason you don’t have a wireless LAN, and if you choose not to use the simple synching via DropBox, the task of importing a CSV file is not as simple as it can be. That is a great feature request. Your resume, combined with your belligerent, pompous attitude, really serves no useful purpose though.

  31. Jeff says:

    Your comments about me serve no purpose either hot shot. And it’s funny how other programs have negative reviews available but not this one.

  32. Donald says:

    Jeff, I didn’t say your comments serve no purpose, I said your negative attitude serves no “useful” purpose. The purpose of my comment, which you still don’t get, was to inform you that the developer has no control over the order in which reviews appear.

  33. Michael says:

    Tap Forms is really slick. I like to use my iPod Touch to track my inventory related to various hobbies. For some hobbies I am able to find and use specialized collection managers which export to the iPod Touch. But when I can’t I am using Tap Forms and it is really nice. After I make updates on my Windows PC copy (Excel), I export to CSV (using pipes). Then I go to my iPod and delete all records in the form, and re-import. The web server to upload the exported files works very nicely. I have two question:

    1) In my file on one of the records in a description I have the word Cafe where Cafe has the accent over the letter e — like this Café

    That letter seems to cause Tap Forms import tool to immediately stop importing. Is there some config parameter I need to set to handle this? (I tested changing it to cafX and it continues to import fine.

    2) I have two fields that have a dollar amount (e.g., $19.95, $14.50). So in the form I set that field as Number with a Currency style. Those two fields after import all contain the value “NaN” in all records. I could fix the problem in these two cases by changing the field to text. But I would like to use currency style fields on other forms where I import, so I’d like to understand what I am doing wrong.

    Thanks in advance, and thanks for creating a great utility!

  34. admin says:

    Hello Michael,

    1. Yes, you need to make sure you’re using the correct import file encoding in Tap Forms. Since you’re exporting from Windows Excel, you should probably use “Windows Latin 1” file encoding on the Import File Encoding settings screen. That will tell Tap Forms the encoding of your CSV file and how to properly handle the accented characters in your file.

    2. What you’ll need to do is make sure you simply have the raw numeric number (e.g. 19.95) instead of $19.95. Then you can tell Tap Forms to apply a currency number formatter to your Number field type which will add the $ when the value is displayed. This is something I could probably handle a little better in the future by automatically stripping out the $ before I import into a Number field type.



  35. Jeff says:

    I’ve been going through the comments here and I’ve found a LOT of limitations. First I’m not the only one that didn’t like the fact that things weren’t explained before the program was purchased. Certain claims were made that turned out to either require additional software or didn’t work right at all. There’s a limit on the field size and a limit on the amount of data that can be imported. There’s the need to know the format of the CSV file which I’ve never seen any program include in the creation of a CSV file although I’ve been creating those files for transferring data from one program to another sucessfully for at least 17 years that I remember. Possibly more. There seems to be some “need for a username and password” that I’m not aware of. A great deal of people have had problems here importing data into this program. I’m sure it will create a new database easy enough and you can start entering data into a brand new database. My problem is I have databases with 45,000 cells that would need to be updated to contain all the data in just one of my files. But that’s a small database. I have another that has about 725,000 cells of data. It’s taken me a very long time to accumulate the data in these files and I suspect keying the data in would take at least a year. That large database is only 1.34 meg in the current format it’s in. Considering I have well over 6 gig of free space on my iPhone I would think it could contain the data. But now I’m hearing there is a limitation on the data.

    And the iTunes store is just one source of information about this program. The website is not controlled by Apple I don’t believe. But nothing was said about those limitations on the website either. No mention of the method of transferring data was mentioned either.

    I strongl suspect this program was Maccentric in it’s design with the emphasis on the file format of the CSV file. Mac has always insisted on using file formats that were different than the vast majority of the installed base of computers created. But I couldn’t swear to that since I abandoned the Mac platform by 1986.

    Yes there are people who are acquainted with the methods used prior to the modern method of transferring data onto a device through iTunes. I have never heard the term “dropbox” in any of my computer experiences. It wasn’t hard to figure it out (haven’t tried to see if it works yet) but I will still be at the mercy of a third party and I’m very suspicious of anything “free” on the net. I smell spyware coming or other malware. Nothing is free.

    No mention has been made of accessing files through a website I currently maintain either. I’m left to guess if that’s possible.

    So your lack of documentation skills have left many in the dark but you seem to not want to admit that. Instead your fanboys tell me I’m in the wrong for pointing out glaring omissions. Writing code for a simple database that will keep 100 records isn’t hard. I’ve done some programming myself. But when we start talking about taking up more than a small amount of resources the problems get bigger faster. I just don’t think it would have been too much to ask to have these issues brought up before money is collected. Up until I bought your program that’s how it’s been with every program I’ve bought through iTunes. Instead I’ve already sent my money in and I just now find out there are serious limitations and misrepresentations that have been around since before I bought this program.

  36. Michael says:

    Hi Brendan,

    Thanks for the prompt reply you provided — I really appreciate the excellent & quick support. I’ve already tried these out, and together your two points addressed my issue. It allowed me to very quickly move even more data onto TapForms on my iPod Touch.

    I must say that I really impressed at the amount of functionality you provide for such a low-priced app. Even when I compare it to to other mobile devices tools I’ve used in the past, Tap Forms comes out ahead.

    I also appreciate your use of the CSV file format as the import/export standard. For anyone who has worked in the Windows world with Microsoft Excel, Access, etc. this is a standard format we’ve all come to know and understand. It really helps ease the movement of data when such a common format is used.

    So thanks for all the work — now I can have my key data with me, and when I need more I can easily pop open my netbook and have it all. But thanks to Tap Forms I don’t always need to carry my netbook along.

  37. JJROCK says:

    Hi Brendan

    Sorry for the time lack of reply.
    I went through my network settings, rearranged it and bingo it now works and I can use the FTP or web up/down load feature.

    My next project is my old flexwallet. Export the data and arrange it to fit Tabform csv.

    By the way. Enjoy your program very much. Use it every day. :)

  38. admin says:

    Hello JJ,

    That’s great to hear! I’m glad the file transfer is working for you now.

    And Michael, thank you too. I’m glad that Tap Forms is working well for you and you are able to use your CSV files without trouble. That’s one of the main reasons I picked CSV files for import/export as they are very standard across all platforms. Now, with special accented characters and anything outside the normal 127 character ASCII range, you do have to know a little about file encoding due to the 14 (soon to be 16) different languages in the world that Tap Forms supports.



  39. Michael says:

    Hi Brendan,

    Quick question — when you first open a Form that has records, you get a screen that shows each record and appears to show the first two fields on the form. I found I can control which field appear just by adjusting the field order. Is there a spot where I can set a config variable on the form so that on that screen you would see the first three fields, instead of just the first two fields?

    If not would you consider this option or something similar for a future issue.

    I’d like to be able to use this screen for an inventory reconciliation activity occasionally and it would be nice to not have to go one screen deeper. For example in one form I have:

    Item Number
    … other fields

    Would be nice to have all three of the first three fields on that screen.


  40. admin says:

    Hi Michael,

    I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time actually. But there are some performance issues with the more fields I display on the list view at once. I’ll take another look at it to see what can be done. The other issue is where to display the third field. On the bottom, on the right? etc.

    It would be pretty cool if you could define a custom layout for the cells in a form. But that’s for another day perhaps.



  41. JJROCK says:

    Hi again Brendan

    Now working on the structuring of my csv. file.
    My question is: Is there any way to mark a csv. line, which categorie to use when importing the line into TAPform.
    Or are all imported data marked as uncategorized.


  42. admin says:

    Hello JJ,

    Forms are categorized. Records are stored underneath a form. So all you need to do is import your records into your previously created/categorized form and that’s all you need to do.

    You can import your records directly into a previously created form by tapping on the Action menu button on the Edit Form screen and selecting “Import Records”. You’ll be presented with the list of files from the Files area. Just choose the file that matches the structure of the form you want to import. You can also do this from the records list view for your selected form. Same procedure. Action menu -> Import Records.

    When you import right off the Files screen, Tap Forms always creates a new form. But importing from the record list or Edit Form screen always imports right into the selected form.

    In this way you can also append records to a previous set of records you already have in your form.



  43. Jesse says:

    Failed to import traditional Chinese from Windows excel. I tried different settings of codes ,e.g. UTF8….

  44. admin says:

    Hello Jesse,

    Can you email me a sample file to so I can see what the encoding should be set to?



  45. Milly says:

    I’m trying to transition from an app that’s used on my BB that exports a csv file, much like yours does, HOWEVER, I love your app way more and I’d like to not have to reinvent the wheel. Is there a way to have the imported csv create a new form based on that original csv?

    If so, how to I “send” it from the import folder to have it become a new form?

    After I get the form created, it will be easier to edit each item and make the custom improvements I need, like hiding some fields, changing the default state of check boxes, etc.

  46. admin says:

    Hello Milly,

    Once you get the CSV file into Tap Forms (either by the built-in web or FTP servers on the phone or by using Dropbox), you only need to tap on the blue-circle icon to the right of the CSV file name. That will bring up a menu giving you the opportunity to import the file. Tap Forms will auto-create a form for you based on the name of the file. The first row will be used to define the fields that will make up the structure of your form. Tap Forms will treat each column in the CSV as a Text field type unless you tell it otherwise.

    You can edit the CSV file on your computer to add the following tags to the header row:
    For example, if you were to have a CSV file containing your favourite movies, you could do something like this:

    Movie Name<text>,Year<number>,Release Date<date>,Actors<note>,Synopsis<note>,Rating<rating>,Studio<text>

    Then just add the rows down below to fill in your data.

    Let me know if you have any troubles with this.



  47. Brendan says:

    Oh, one more thing. It isn’t necessary to add these special tags to the header row. This is just so that Tap Forms knows how to properly deal with importing your data. By default, Tap Forms will just create Text fields for all your imported data.



  48. wayne alexander says:


    I was totally new to csv files

    8 hours later (and I mean 8 hours of frustration) at last I seem to be getting somewhere.

    My bento file was not recognised in TapForms.

    I am a CSV beginner, so i went right back to a simple text edit file.

    I pasted in the Movie Name,Release Date…… text at the top of page but still NO success?

    My advice to anybody (on a mac) who is having trouble understanding how tapforms handles csv files and also wants to experiment and test the import settings (so you become happy with it),

    then trace my steps here:-

    1. on iphone>tapforms>toolsimport/export settings
    file encoding:mac os roman date:yyyy/mm/dd time format:HH:mm column: comma,

    2. copy and paste these lines into textedit
    Movie Name,Release
    The Dark Knight,Y
    The English Patient,N

    then in textedit>format>make plain text
    then file>saveas (name file test.csv , plain text encoding box = western (mac os roman)

    I imported file into tapforms (& its recognised)

    NB also this format of text also worked


    So i had success following these steps and I got confidence with the exact csv header layout (and i was a complete beginner)

    I am now looking at my raw bento file to see what changes (if any) i need to make to get that into tapforms (i will report back…………)

    • Brendan says:

      Hi Wayne,

      Thanks for posting this information. Another way to figure out the CSV format that Tap Forms expects is to create a few records, then use the “Export Records” function. Tap Forms will generate a CSV and store it in the Exports folder. You can download that to your computer and examine it to see the format.



  49. wayne alexander says:

    BENTO USERS, NOVICE, BEGINNERS (part ii from above)

    ts all making sense to me now

    My bento export file is a complete mess (comas ,,,,,,, everywhere and large spaces and semicolons ;;;;; ,,,,,,, ………… paragraphs of writing etc

    Bento has 3 csv export options , ; and tab (useless for my content as i got commas and ; everywhere)
    Bento has export to excel 2008 option (but i only got 2003 and it didn’t work)
    Bento has export to numbers

    So I exported to numbers (looks great), but then numbers export options are very basic = PDF, excel (any 2003 or 2008) and csv (comma only)
    So stuck with excel export
    Then opened in excel (looked fine). Then export from excel lots of choices (space deliminator, tab delim, csv comma wk1-4, Wks, DBF 2, 3 ,4 , unicode text , DIF (data interchange) , SYLK, MS excel add-in but NO pipe (or anything useful that would import into tapforms

    CONCLUSION: The only choice i think im left with to clean up my data is to go with the pipe format | this | | as i now that’s going to be the easiest way to clean up my data …it will take time because i’ll have to do it manually

    If your bento database is clean then yours may just work without needing to do a manual cleanup like i have to

    or anyone suggest anything else

  50. wayne alexander says:

    BENTO USERS, NOVICE, BEGINNERS (part 3 from above)

    Following Brendan’s advice, quote “create a few records, then use the “Export Records” function”

    I exported file as a csv pipe ( like this | ) and this is what i got

    Movie Name|Release Date
    The Dark Knight|Y
    The English Patient|N

    so im going to have to manually go through my bento export putting these pipes | | | | | | in the right places


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