Format Files

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Format Files

The EDP Format file is the essence of data checking in EDP. Structured in XML, the EDP Format file contains the definitions for each individual format belonging to the format file (e.g., the EFWEDD Format File contains the laboratory "4-File" formats (EFW2FSample, EFW2LabSMP, EFW2LabTST, EFW2LabRES, and EFW2LabBCH)).


Format Files may be encrypted or unencrypted (unencrypted format files may be edited or customized), and typically include:

The Format Definition file (.xsd or .xse)

The Custom Handler file (.vb or .vbe)

The Enumeration file

The Reference Value file (.rvf)


Simple checks such as range checking, reference values, formatting and enumerations are included in the format definition file. More extensive checking, such as comparing the value of one field against the value of another, is in the custom handler, or .vb file.


Format File Types


The Format Definition File


The Format Definition (.xsd or .xse) file contains the mapping and definition for the sections of the format file, such as:

The mapping of the fields in the format to the data table and fields in the EQuIS database.

Required fields

Primary keys

Field length

Field description

Field type (numeric, text, etc.)


The Custom Handler File


The Custom Handler (.vb or .vbe) file contains the custom handling and business rules that apply to the format. One example might be that the analysis date cannot proceed sample date or that REPORTABLE_RESULT cannot be "Yes" where the LAB_QUALIFIER E, G, P or R.


Another example of a business rule is if a certain sample type is encountered, then another field must be populated. For example, if a SAMPLE_TYPE of "FD" (field duplicate) is available, then the parent sample field must be populated to avoid an orphan quality assurance/quality control sample.


To edit these rules, please contact to obtain an unencrypted version of the format.


Learn about writing custom handlers here.


The Enumeration File


The Enumeration (or enum) file, is an optional file that allows EDP to enforce a set of lookup values similar to a reference table (RT) lookup. This allows EDP to control the values for specific fields that are not linked to a reference table in the EQuIS database or to a subset of values within an existing reference table .


While the *.rvf file is created as an export from EQuIS Professional, the enum file is created and maintained manually using any text editor. Unlike the *.rvf file, the enum file is used in EQuIS Professional EDP as well as standalone EDP.


It should also be noted that the enum file may also be used to narrow a list of reference values to a smaller list. For example, a unit field such as elevation units would typically be linked to the RT_UNIT table, which may contain 100 or more units. However, it might make sense to limit the elevation units to "meters" and "feet" since those are the only valid units for this type of data.


The enumeration file must be in the same directory as the rest of the format files and properly named and referenced within the format file, otherwise an error will occur when opening the format.


The Reference Value File


EQuIS Professional EDP uses the values in the Reference Tables from the database you are connected to. The Reference Values file (.rvf) is created as an export from reference tables in EQuIS Professional.


Tip: Standalone EDP Only: The Reference Value file (.rvf) is only used when running Standalone EDP; it allows Standalone EDP to check reference values remotely against values established in EQuIS Professional.


Create a .rvf File for use with EDP Standalone

1.Launch EQuIS Professional.

2.Log into the facility within the database that you would like to export reference values from.

3.Click the EDP button edp_icon (located in the import group on the Home tab).

4.Open the Format file that includes the reference values that will be exported.


Note: The reference values set used by each format is different, so depending upon the data provider you are sending these to, you may need to export a different rvf file.


Once the EDP format and the Reference Values are loaded, save the .rvf file.

5.Click on the EDP Application Menu in the upper-left corner of the EDP.

6.Select Save > Reference Value (.rvf).

7.Name the file. EarthSoft recommends using the Company/Organization name, in addition to the date exported.

8.Select Save.



Note: EarthSoft recommends using the RefVals Format to create analyte groups. Populate the RT_MTH_ANL_GROUP and RT_MTH_ANL_GROUP_MEMBER fields.