How can I speed up importing large .d files?

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soon I'll have large files, about 50000x6 (more than one of them) and I'll have to work on them several times to plot different stuff. I've realised that "importdata" command is very slow and I've been recommended to use GNUPlot, but I would prefer to stick to MATLAB if possible. So, is there any command to load data to workspace in a faster way? Maybe using .xls instead of .d?
Felix Lauwaert
Felix Lauwaert on 1 Aug 2015
I had to upload it as .txt because of website requirements. I tic-tocked the importdata and it was arround 12s, but I'll have to deal with way larger files soon.

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Accepted Answer

Cedric Wannaz
Cedric Wannaz on 1 Aug 2015
Edited: Cedric Wannaz on 1 Aug 2015
I would do something along the following line:
buffer = fileread( 'test.txt' ) ;
data = sscanf( buffer(76:end), '%f' ) ;
data = reshape( data, 6, [] )' ;
I built a file with more than 50k rows to test, and it takes half the time of IMPORTDATA. We can easily improve it so it doesn't rely on a fixed header size. You could also do something like:
fName = 'test.txt' ;
fId = fopen( fName, 'r' ) ;
header = strsplit( strtrim( fgetl( fId ) ), ' ' ) ;
data = fscanf( fId, '%f' ) ;
data = reshape( data, 6, [] )' ;
fclose( fId ) ;
but this is slower.
PS: I don't understand why your IMPORTDATA is that slow. On my test file with >50k lines, here is the timing:
IMPORTDATA: Elapsed time is 0.312664 seconds.
FSCANF : Elapsed time is 0.457961 seconds.
FILEREAD : Elapsed time is 0.171987 seconds.
Cedric Wannaz
Cedric Wannaz on 1 Aug 2015
Edited: Cedric Wannaz on 1 Aug 2015
It's interesting, 6x5e4 -> 2s and 5e4x6 -> 0.3s.
In any case, I've always been avoiding IMPORTDATA like plague (especially after looking at its source code), because its behavior is size-dependent and difficult to predict. This leads to situations like the one reported recently on the forum, where it works with a files that contains thousands of rows of data, but fails when there are only 30 lines (for the same data structure).

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More Answers (1)

per isakson
per isakson on 1 Aug 2015
Edited: per isakson on 1 Aug 2015
Does the file consist of header rows followed by data rows, which contains only numerical data? (No string data such as date time data.)
Try txt2mat, by Andres "txt2mat basically is a wrapper for sscanf, it quickly converts ascii files containing m-by-n numeric data, allowing for header lines"
Felix Lauwaert
Felix Lauwaert on 1 Aug 2015
I tried txt2mat out and it's great, timing 0.157s! Awesome, I hope one day I'll be ready to answer questions and make such functions :)

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