I have several data files I want to import. The names of these files consist of a part that is the same for all of them and a number which identifies them, as in "restofname-NUMBER". I tried to make a list list of the numbers in question and then to import by

Import["restofname-" <> # & /@ StringForm[list], "Table"],

but that leaves me with the error

String expected at position 1 in StringForm[1]

I'm guessing StringForm is not what I need, but have no idea what else to use.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ try ToString . $\endgroup$
    – george2079
    Apr 10, 2015 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ Argh, what a mess of brackets I made. Deleted the previous comment. This seems to work properly: (data[#] = Import["restofname-" <> ToString[#], "Table"]) & /@ list $\endgroup$
    – LLlAMnYP
    Apr 10, 2015 at 12:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also check IntegerString[] in case you need padding, e.g. name-001.dat $\endgroup$ Apr 10, 2015 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ Concerning "what else to use": ?*String* can be worth a try. $\endgroup$ Apr 10, 2015 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of mathematica.stackexchange.com/questions/61652/… $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2015 at 13:02

1 Answer 1


I am not sure if this is the best way of doing it, so the following is not exactly an answer to the question. Here is how I would do it assuming that I have padding.

0 Preparation

data={1,2,3};(*some test data*)
(*exporting to some files*)
Table[Export["myData" <> IntegerString[i, 10, 5] <> ".txt", data], {i,10}];
(*and deleting one to make it a bit more complicated*)

Now how to proceed? Check the files.


{"desktop.ini","Ma musique", "Mes images","Mes vidéos","myData00001.txt", "myData00002.txt", "myData00004.txt", "myData00005.txt", "myData00006.txt", "myData00007.txt", "myData00008.txt", "myData00009.txt", "myData00010.txt", "test.xls"}

(*Now let us take only the ones that start with the right name*)
fList = Select[FileNames[], (StringMatchQ[#, StartOfString ~~ "myData" ~~ __] &)];
(*or directly using the power of FileNames[]*)
fList = FileNames["myData*"]

{"myData00001.txt", "myData00002.txt", "myData00004.txt", \ "myData00005.txt", "myData00006.txt", "myData00007.txt", \ "myData00008.txt", "myData00009.txt", "myData00010.txt"}

(*If we want the numbers of those we can use regular expressions*)
(*If the lengths are all fixed, StringDrop[] can also work*)
numbers=ToExpression[Flatten[StringCases[#, RegularExpression["[0-9]+"]] & /@ fList]]

{1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10}

So there are two ways now:

1a Knowing the numbers

If we know that it starts at 1 and ends at 10 with 3 missing, we just do:

Table[If[i != 3, iData[i] = Import["myData" <> IntegerString[i, 10, 5]<> ".txt","Table"]], {i, 10}];

1b Using the file list

If we are not sure about the numbers we use the file list and extract the numbers from the file names:

            StringCases[i, RegularExpression["[0-9]+"] 
    ] = Import[i, "Table"], {i, fList}]


Now iData[i] and newiData[i] should be identical.

Note that especially the second case works if you have file names of the type:

"known name"<>"variational unknown part"<>"unknown length numbers"<>".dat" 

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