So I am having trouble because I am trying to do with Mathematica what is equivalent do "sscanf" with C basically.

I will have a text file with a number of specifications:

data1 data2 data3 ...

Some of these parameters are strings, while others are numbers. Basically I want scan the line of the file and put each of these fields into variables. What is the best way to do this in Mathematica. I have seen very confusing information online, some using Import, others fread and I am still not sure what would be the best way.

Thank you in advance!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You could start by trying Import with CSV format. CSV and see how it works. What is the field separation? space, tab, comma? $\endgroup$
    – Nasser
    Jan 2, 2023 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @Nasser! Thank you. As for the separation initially I was doing space, than changed to comma, but I am not sure what will be easier for Mathematica to do the interpretation (I am defining the format of the files myself so I can still change it). $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2023 at 8:50

1 Answer 1


You may also check the ReadList function. For example considering following input (having an implicit structure of String, Number, String, Number):

abc 123 def 456
abcdef 123.123 defghj 456.456

you can read it like:

ReadList["input.txt", {Word, Number, Word, Number}]

and getting the result in form of a list of records {{"abc", 123, "def", 456}, {"abcdef", 123.123, "defghj", 456.456}}


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