Ensure non-dates stay non-dates

When Data-flo output column is erroneously interpreted as datetimes by other software


When you export from Data-flo and open the data in another program (e.g. Microreact or Excel), a column containing Sample IDs is getting interpreted as date-times, even though they are meant to be text.

This is not caused by an error in Data-flo, but by preferences in the other programs. Data-flo can be used to prevent the problem.


Determine a character you can prepend to the problematic Sample IDs column. In this example, we'll use a hash #


  • source=sample_id

  • pattern is everything in the sample_id field /^(.+)$/

    • ^ and $anchor the start & end of the field, () designate a capture group to reference in the replacement, and .+ means any character any number of times. See RegEx.

  • replacement is #$1 (where $1 means everything you’ve selected)

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