Importdata fails to import large files

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Hi everybody.
I've have a bunch of large files as the following one:
# x 1 2 3 4 ...
# y 5 6 7 8 ...
# z 10 11 12 13 ...
# Time
1 87 85 82 81 ...
2 67 86 19 34 ...
... ... ... ... ...
Since i don't know either the number of rows or the number of columns, usually I import them using
data=importdata(filePath,' ',4);
but for some of them (the biggest ones 1.32 and 1.7 GB) this command doesn't work and data is an empty variable.
I managed to solve this with an ad hoc solution deleting the first 4 rows and using the command
data=importdata(filePath,' ');
Since I have a large number of them I would like to have a solution that works for all of them. What can i do?
Thank you

Accepted Answer

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 7 Oct 2013
fid = fopen('YourFile.txt');
for K = 1 : 4 %skip 4 lines
here = ftell(fid); %remember where we are
fields = regexp( fgetl(), '\s+', 'split'); %read line, split it into columns
numcols = length(fields); %count them
fseek(fid, here, 'bof');; %reposition to prior line
fmt = repmat('%f', 1, numcols); %maybe %d if entries are integral
datacell = textscan( fid, fmt, 'CollectOutput', 1); %read file
fclose(fid); %we are done with it
data = datacell{1};
  1 Comment
Luca Amerio
Luca Amerio on 7 Oct 2013
That's PERFECT!!!
Just for future readers there's a very little error in
fields = regexp( fgetl(), '\s+', 'split');
that must be corrected in
fields = regexp( fgetl(fid ), '\s+', 'split');
except for that it's one of the best advice I've ever received. I reduced the memory usage and the time required for importing data by almost 60-70%.
That's awesome!
Thank you sooooo much!

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