Non-digit characters can be stripped from a field if it cannot be easily recognised as a number or time value, so that it can be loaded as number value rather than a string. For example, 789-106 can be converted to 789106 and loaded into a number column.
Note that characters are preserved within any quoted values such as “2012/12“ and therefore non-digits cannot be removed from a quoted value.
By default, non-digit characters are preserved for both delimited and fixed length fields.
The ‘g’ switch is used to remove non-digit characters. See Loader switches for further details.
Space characters can be inserted into a field at fixed positions to assist with format parsing. For example, a timestamp string of “20131105000000” can be converted to “20131105 000000” to allow the database to recognise the date and time components. Dates in the format DDMMYYYY are often not recognised and can be made recognisable by inserting a space between the day, month and year – i.e convert "05112013" to "05 11 2013".
By default, no spaces are inserted into a field.
The ‘W’ switch is used insert spaces into a field. See Loader switches for further details.
The ‘y’ switch can also be used to yank partial contents of a field. See Field yanking for further details.