Common errors and problems
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No matter how much care is taken with data preparation, it is not unusual to encounter problems when initially loading and running analyses on a data set. These are usually simple to rectify. Common error messages and their solutions are shown below
1. '' is not a valid floating point value. This will occur if the raw data set holds blank columns or rows - ones that sum to zero. Remove blank columns and rows by using 'Handling zeros' in the working data window. It may also occur if the raw data holds a blank cell. In some cases ECOM will identify the problem cell which should be edited. Normally it is because the data has been prepared in a spreadsheet using blanks to represent zero values.
Occasionally, this error can occur because a blank space has been accidentally entered into a cell outside the data matrix when it was being prepared in a spreadsheet program. To prevent this happening, it is good practice, before saving your data set as a .csv file, to highlight the first 10 or so blank rows and columns below and to the right of the data matrix, and press 'Delete'. This will clear the cells of any accidentally-entered contents.
2. Data matrix disparity. If ECOM detects that the biological and environmental data sets have different numbers of columns, then the following screen will appear, showing where the disparity lies. In this example, Site 2 is missing from the biological file. The options are to Delete the Unmatched Column, or to Truncate the Longest Dataset. This will, of course result in a mismatching of sites throughout the datasets, but it may be useful if dealing with errant entries at the end of either dataset.
3. I/O error 32 - access denied. This will occur if the data file you are trying to open is currently being used by another program - normally the spreadsheet which was used to organise the data.
Close the file in other programs and try again.
4. When a data file is opened, all the data are dumped into the first cell, rather than opening in the grid properly
This is usually because there are one or more blank cells in the second row of data. If the blanks are replaced by zeros, or another row with no blanks is put in the second position, the problem should disappear. Row 2 is the crucial one; blank cells are tolerated elsewhere.
5. 'I entered the data in a spreadsheet program, and saved it as a csv file. When I try to open it in ECOM, the numbers are separated by ';' not ',' so the analysis will not run.'
This is because some non-British systems use ';' instead of ',' to separate values in a csv file. Open Windows Explorer, and change the file extension from csv to txt (i.e. Filename.csv becomes Filename.txt). Open the txt file in Word or another word-processing program. Use the Find/Replace function to replace every ';' with a ',' then save the file again. Change the txt file extension back to csv. It should now open and run perfectly in ECOM.
6. Invalid floating point operation
This often indicates that there are rows or columns with no data in them. Use the Handling Zeros button on the working data tab to find and remove the offending row or column.
7. My files do not appear to be saved
This is may be caused by the lack of the correct file extension. The program only shows files with the .csv extension. To see other files in the open file dialog type *.* into the file name box and press return. - WARNING this will show all the files in the directory - whether they are compatible with the program or not. If you have saved a file without an extension either add the extension outside the program or open the file and save with the correct extension using 'Save as...'
8. When I press F1, no Help screen appears.
Ensure that the window on which you are seeking help is the active one.