Tips for importing CSV files

During my time working with CATS, I’ve dealt a lot with CSV files, whether it be exporting a MySQL query using the “INTO OUTFILE” clause, or converting a MSSQL database table to Access, and then CSV or reading a CSV import into CATS. Most of the time we’re reading in the CSV file to import, and have to use each column in a different spot. One annoyance I came across when reading the CSV files was matching up which columns were which when there are more than 5 or so. Anyways, I found a very simple way to solve this problem. Basically, you always want to open the file and read the first line containing the headers. Then we’ll create a map using the array_flip() function.

This works by reversing the keys and values in the $header array. When we first get the headers, the array could be something like

array(4) {
[0]=> "First Name",
[1]=> "Last Name",
[2]=> "Email",
[3]=> "Cell Phone"

After using the array_flip() function, we’ll get a more useful array telling us which headers are at which index.

array(4) {
["First Name"]=> 0,
["Last Name"]=> 1,
["Email"]=> 2,
["Cell Phone"]=> 3

After that, while reading each row, we can use the “mapped” array to determine the index without looking at the original file.

$firstName = $row[ $map[‘First Name’] ] will properly retrieve column 0, or the First Name field.


// Defensively open the file here
if (!$fp = fopen('/tmp/testdata.csv', 'r'))
die('Error opening file');

// Read the first line containing the headers
$headers = fgetcsv($csv);

// Create the header map
$map = array_flip($headers);

while(!feof($fp) && $row = fgetcsv($fp))
echo "First Name = ".$row[$map['First Name']]."n";