Frequently Asked Questions

  ADA/508 friendly site



FAQ

How do I use the Foreign Trade DropBox (FTD)?

What is the FTD DropBox?
The FTD DropBox is a web page you can use to download files you've requested from the Foreign Trade Division (FTD).  These files contain data on U.S. imports or exports.
My FTD DropBox file is displayed as text in my browser window.  What do I do?
This depends on what kind of file you have. There are two basic types of data files you'll download from this site: a Report Format or an ASCII Delimited File.
  1. Report Format:

    This is an electronic version of what you might otherwise get on paper. You can print the file from your browser by selecting PRINT from the toolbar or from the FILE menu. You could also save the file to your hard drive and print it from your word processor.

    1. Save the file to your hard drive. Select "FILE : SAVE AS..."
    2. Change the file type to "PLAIN TEXT."
    3. Make sure the file has a name and click "SAVE."
    4. Open your word processor.
    5. Open the file you just saved from your browser.
    6. Select "FILE : PRINT."

    If the columns do not line up, reformat the file and print again.

  2. ASCII DELIMITED FILE:

This file is formatted so that you can import it into a spreadsheet or database. Double quotes (") encase the text and either spaces or commas (,) separate each column. For instructions on importing it into a spreadsheet, see the question "Trade Data - Comma Delimited Files (CSV)."
My file has numbers and text separated by commas.  What do I do?
This file is an ASCII delimited and is formatted so that you can import it into a spreadsheet or database. Double quotes (") encase the text and either spaces or commas (,) separate each column. For instructions on importing it into a spreadsheet, see the question "Trade Data - Comma Delimited Files (CSV)."

Reformat: When I open my REPORT FORMAT file in a word processor, the columns are not straight.  How do I straighten these columns?
You'll need to reformat your report. The report format files are designed to be displayed landscape (8.5" down and 11" across) as opposed to portrait (11" down and 8.5" across). Note that most word processors automatically display files portrait, but if displayed portrait, the lines of your report will wrap incorrectly.  

To correct the alignment, try the following steps: 

  1. Change your page orientation to landscape, from portrait. 
  2. Change your margins (top, right, bottom, left) to the smallest value possible (for example, 0.20 inches). You can adjust these values once you have the text formatted correctly.
  3. Highlight all of the text and change the font to a mono-spaced font such as "Courier" (each character takes the same amount of space on a line). In addition, adjust the font to a small size  usually 8 pt works.

Note that the above instructions will vary between computer platforms and applications.  However, reformatting should not be too difficult to accomplish.


How do I print the right-hand columns of my report?
The report format reports in the FTD DropBox  have a great deal of data on each line. Depending on your browser settings, the text may go off the right side of the page. Your best bet is to save the file to your hard drive ("File", "Save As...") and open it in a word processor. Once you do this, you'll have to reformat the file.
When I print my report format file from my browser it does not break at the top of the pages. Why not?
The report format file in the FTD DropBox  are plain text files with page breaks at the top of each page. Web browsers, however, do not recognize those page breaks when you print them. Your best bet is to save the file to your hard drive ("File", "Save As...") and open it in a word processor. If the page appears as it was in your web browser, print it. Otherwise, reformat the file.


When I hit the "Retrieve this file" button while downloading my file from the FTD DropBox, the screen says "Too Many Unsuccessful Attempts."  What do I do?
This means that you have entered three or more incorrect file names during your current session. Please do the following:
  1. Close your browser.
  2. Call theForeign Trade Division (FTD) to get your correct file name.
  3. Start your browser again and download your file.

(FAQ691)

Was this answer helpful?