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What is Data Conversion?

Put simply, data conversion involves changing data from one physical environment format to another. Around the world — and particularly in the business world — data is shared from one computer to another. However, the hardware and software platforms that host this data aren’t always the same and, as such, pieces of data from one physical environment will not necessarily be compatible with the new environment. When this happens, data conversion is needed. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at data conversion, and we’ll also discuss some of the different types of data conversion, from converting music files to converting NSF to PST.

The simplest example of data conversion

The most basic data conversion example would involve converting a text file from one type of character encoding to the next. This example is simple because the characters are directly interchangeable; once the computer “cracks” the code, it’s simply a case of making the translation. Computers can be easily programmed to achieve this task.

Some slightly more complex data conversions

However, there are more complex conversions as well, such as those involving image, audio and video file conversion. These types of file conversions require the consideration of the different software applications that might play the files, and there can be a much higher level of variation in such software.

Another complex conversion involves changing database file formats used by business software such as Lotus Notes (which uses the NSF file format) and Microsoft Outlook (which uses the PST file format). In these scenarios, the database is stored on varying servers, meaning the conversion needs to consider different hardware as well. Additionally, because these databases often contain mission-critical business information, the process of conversion can be a costly one. For this reason, it’s often prudent to employ the services of conversion experts for lotus notes to outlook and for other complex database file format conversion.

The occasional need for human intervention

Sometimes, however, data conversion is impossible without human judgement and intervention. This is the case in situations where information needs to be added, otherwise known as “upsampling”. The most basic example of this can be seen when a colour image is converted to grayscale. While this is easy because the conversion simply involves taking information away, converting the file from grayscale back to colour cannot be done without human intervention to decide where the colours are meant to go.

Types of file conversions

Here is a list of the most common type of file conversions:

  • Archive (Such as RAR to ZIP, or 7Z to TAR)
  • Document (Such as DOCX to Doc, or TXT to RTF)
  • Presentation (Such as PPTX to PPT, or ODP to SWF)
  • E-Book (Such as MOBI to TXT, or PRC to EPUB)
  • Image (Such as BMP to GIF, or PNG to JPG)
  • Audio (Such as MP3 to M4A, or AAC to WAV)
  • Video (Such as AVI to MP4, or MPEG to 3GP)
  • Database (Such as NSF to PST)
  • Other (Such as EPS to GIF, or PSD to JPG)

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