The "Flat" file format is designed to cater for datasets stored in a database or spreadsheet with all data for each entry on a single line (hence the name "flat").
Data submitted in this format is first translated into the standard format, a fact which shouldn't affect you, but seems worth mentioning anyway.
The essence of the flat format is that, so long as all required data is available, it can be submitted in almost any layout. A line at the top of the file defines what goes where.
Note that the format exported by packages such as Excel and Access, known as CSV, is supported by FreeBMD, even though we don't document it explicitly here - quotes are allowed around fields.
+INFO,firstname.lastname@example.org,pw,ONENAME,BIRTHS +FORMAT,Surname,Firstname,District,Volume,Page,Quarter,Year,Type VERGE,John,Ringwood,VIII,205,Mar,1838,B VERGE,George,Ringwood,VIII,198,Jun,1841,B VERGE,Mary,Fordingbridge,VIII,181,Mar,1843,B VERGE,Joseph,London,II,177,Sep,1843,B
Each file must start with two lines. First is the info line, which is exactly the same as the dataset info line in the standard format. The second is the format line, described below.
The format line consists of +FORMAT followed by a list of column types.
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