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Article ID: 113942 - Last Review: February 11, 2005 - Revision: 3.1

This article was previously published under Q113942

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The information below explains how to convert dBASE files into FoxPro files.

In FoxPro 2.x for Windows, this information is also found in the "Switching from dBASE" topic in FoxPro version 2.6 Help. To go directly to this topic in FoxPro, choose dBASE Help from the Help menu.


FoxPro version 2.6 has new tools, as well as new and enhanced commands and functions, to maximize dBASE compatibility.

The Catalog Manager and AutoMigrate technology make converting dBASE files to FoxPro easy. The Catalog Manager activates AutoMigrate and allows you to open and manipulate existing dBASE catalogs and files. AutoMigrate works behind the scenes to automatically convert your dBASE files for immediate use in FoxPro by modifying dBASE tables and creating new FoxPro screens, reports, labels, and queries based on the format of existing dBASE files. Conversion takes no effort on your part and does not prevent you from using the files again in dBASE.

Except for tables with memo fields, all your original dBASE files remain intact when they are converted for use in FoxPro. If your table has an index, AutoMigrate rebuilds it.

In FoxPro for Windows, AutoMigrate also automatically transports files from MS-DOS to Windows. For more information on transporting, see Transporting Files. dBASE queries and programs run without conversion. They are automatically recompiled in FoxPro.

NOTE: Compiled dBASE programs (.QBO, .FMO, .FRO, .LBO, and .DBO files) cannot be run in FoxPro unless the source code (.PRG) or design file (.QBE, .SCR, .FRG, .LBL) is available.

Converting Individual dBASE files to FoxPro:
AutoMigrate automatically converts dBASE files when you:
  • Use a table with existing indexes or a memo field.
  • Use or choose to modify a query.
  • Run or modify a screen.
  • Run or modify a report.
  • Run or modify a label.
Effects of Conversion:
(Databases)     AutoMigrate converts dBASE tables when you use them.
                See Converting Tables for details.

Queries         AutoMigrate converts dBASE queries when you modify
                them. See Converting Queries for details.

Screens (Forms) AutoMigrate converts dBASE forms to FoxPro screens
                when you modify or run them. Information about
                objects, fields, and so on is contained in a design
                file in dBASE. FoxPro copies the information in the
                dBASE file to a FoxPro .SCX file. Because of
                differences between MS-DOS and Windows, the appearance
                of your converted screens may need to be adjusted a
                little bit.

and Labels      AutoMigrate converts dBASE reports and labels when you
                modify or print them. See Converting Reports and
                Labels for details.

Programs        In most cases, no changes need to be made to dBASE
                programs. They are recompiled in FoxPro when you run
                them. See Converting Programs and Applications for

Converting Tables

dBASE tables that have memo fields and/or indexes are converted when you use them.

Encrypted Tables:

If your table is encrypted, you'll need to decrypt it in dBASE before conversion can take place.


FoxPro uses a different indexing algorithm than dBASE, so if the table being converted has an associated dBASE .MDX or .NDX index, FoxPro automatically creates a FoxPro .CDX or .IDX index for the table.

To use a dBASE IV table with an index and without a memo field in dBASE after FoxPro has converted it, open the file in dBASE and reindex. This step is necessary only if you have changed any of the data.

Tables with Memo Files:

If a dBASE table has one or more memo fields, FoxPro automatically converts the memo file so that it is compatible with FoxPro. You can use a dBASE III table or a dBASE IV table with a memo field in dBASE after it has been converted into FoxPro.

To use a dBASE table after it has been converted to a FoxPro format:

  1. From the Data menu, choose Export... to open the Export dialog.
  2. In the Export dialog, choose dBASE III/IV with Memo from the File Type popup.
  3. Choose the Save As... button to enter a new name for the table.
  4. Choose Export.
WARNING: Large memo fields may be truncated when converted back to a dBASE format after you have used this conversion procedure.

Converting Reports and Labels

When FoxPro converts reports and labels, FoxPro creates an .FRX file with the information from the dBASE .FRM file, and a .LBX file with the information from the dBASE .LBL file.

What FoxPro Converts:

FoxPro converts all bands, fields, calculated fields, hidden fields, picture templates, and functions for fields. FoxPro also converts style attributes such as underline, bold, italic, and colors. Fonts are not converted.

Word-wrap bands are converted to a series of one-line text fields in FoxPro reports. Band spacing and pitch information is not converted. FoxPro does not use a global ruler or a word-wrap paragraph ruler, so this information is not retained. Converted reports will have a right margin equal to the width of the report. The left margin is not changed but can be set in the FoxPro Report Writer

Reports with tab characters may need to have their fields rearranged to achieve the desired appearance.

Differences After Conversion:

Since empty report bands print in dBASE, FoxPro adds null characters to these bands so they will also print in FoxPro.

dBASE reports do not store complete environment information, only database aliases. As a result, upon opening a converted report, you might get an error such as "Customer.dbf not found." FoxPro reports can save database names, relations, skips, and index information. Once in the Report Writer, set up the environment the way you want it and then save that information with that report. No more such errors will appear.

Troubleshooting Hard-coded Reports:

If the report is hard-coded, rather than created through the dBASE Report Design Tool, you'll want to keep in mind the following points:

  • Interspersing ??? printer direct control commands with @ ... SAY commands can cause a problem with the output.
  • If the report uses @ PROW() SAY commands to direct output to the printer, EJECT can cause the printer to feed a new page before all the @ ... SAY fields have been sent to the printer. You can avoid this by replacing EJECT with @ 0,0 SAY "".
  • Make sure the command SET PRINTER TO is included at the end of the printing loop to force the output to the printer.

Converting Queries

FoxPro allows you to work with three types of queries: SQL queries, Updatable queries (.FPQ), and, in the Professional Edition, Client-Server queries (.CSQ). When you modify a dBASE .QBE query in the Updatable Query Wizard, FoxPro creates an .FPQ file.

If you add an aggregate function, such as SUM() or AVG() to a dBASE query or an .FPQ query, FoxPro creates an equivalent .QPR file, using SQL to handle the more complex query.

Converting Programs and Applications

In general, dBASE IV programs and applications run unchanged in FoxPro. When you choose to run a dBASE program, FoxPro recompiles the .PRG file into an .FXP file and runs the .FXP.

Because of the differences in SQL implementation, dBASE IV .PRS programs cannot be run in FoxPro.

RunTime Errors:

If a dBASE program produces a runtime error or unexpected results, you can debug the program using the FoxPro debugging tools, Trace and Debug.

The Trace window allows you to step through your code a line at a time. The Debug window has two panels. You can enter variables or FoxPro functions in the left panel. The right panel displays the runtime values assigned to the variables or returned by the functions. For more information about debugging in FoxPro, see the "Program Menu" chapter of the FoxPro "User's Guide" and the "Debugging Your Application" chapter of the FoxPro "Developer's Guide."

Syntax Errors:

If a syntax error occurs when you are running a program, FoxPro highlights the error line in an editing window. You can use the Help file to check the proper syntax and usage for the command or function that caused the error.

Debugging Tips:

  • Make sure that the program does not include one of the six unsupported commands and functions listed in Unsupported dBASE IV Commands and Functions.
  • Make sure that the dBASE program does not have a procedure, function, variable, or an array named with any of the FoxPro reserved words.
NOTE: dBASE is manufactured by a vendor independent of Microsoft; we make no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding this product's performance or reliability.

  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro 3.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft FoxPro 2.6 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft FoxPro 2.6 for MS-DOS
kb3rdparty KB113942
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