automatic conversion

From the article 
    If Excel is configured to open a test file automatically
    from another application, then the data must be
    pre-processed in the upstream application. For example, a
    space character or an apostrophe can be placed in front of
    the gene name. That is the solution implemented in the Excel
    output format option of MatchMiner [1] and the primary
    approach recommended by Microsoft in their Knowledge Base
    Article on the issue [6].

    If a text file is to be opened by Excel, open Excel first
    and then select the text file to read. Then select "text"
    mode for the column(s) containing potentially affected
    symbols in the Text Import Wizard Step 3 of 3.

    If text is to be copied from another application (such as a
    text processor) and pasted into a pre-opened Excel
    spreadsheet, the formatting must be set in the spreadsheet.
    Within the pre-opened spreadsheet, prior to pasting, use
    Format -> cells to specify which columns of the recipient
    spreadsheet are to be treated as text [6]. That procedure
    works for copying from several text processors tested on Mac
    OS 10.2. However, changing the format of the spreadsheet
    column to text fails to solve the conversion problem when
    pasting data from a Microsoft Word file. In that case, in
    addition to the formatting, use the Paste Special -> Paste:
    As: Text command to insert the text.

Surely there is a better approach.  Thinking only briefly
since others will have more experience and better ideas:
        Case 1 above:
        Include a switch.
        Include option: set a filetype to import as text
                Probablyhould have a warning dialogue (Import as Text? Y N)
        Case 2 above:
        Include options:
                a. set a filetype to import as text
                b. always warn before conversion
                        make b. the default
                c. current import strategy
        Case 3 above:
        Include options:
                a. always paste as text
                b. always warn before conversion
                        make b. the default
                c. current import strategy

This just gets started, but it suggests some possibilities.
Being able to set filetype (ideally identified by regex but
possibly by 'extension') looks particularly helpful.

Alan Isaac

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