How should I format my input files?

Files should be .txt or .csv format with two columns, the first for well ID and the second for raw Ct values. Each file should have the same well IDs. All values in the Ct column should be numeric, except for non-detects or missing values which should be denoted with “NA”. You can download this example data set to see how uploaded files should be formatted.

Troubleshooting: if you get an error saying that there are special characters in your file, try change the type of .csv or .txt. Mac allows .csv and .txt formats with UTF-8 encoding, which can cause problems with our file uploader. Change to the regular format using “Save As” and selecting the .csv or .txt without UTF-8 encoding.

I struggled for some time with the “special character” error code. Troubleshooting finally showed that the default for R when writing tables is to put quotes around character values, like a well label, such that the output is “A01”, “A02”, and so on for the wells column. However, when Excel opens and displays a .csv, those quotes are not visible. I solved the issue by adding quote = FALSE to my write.table() call in R.

Great, thanks for the tip!

Another troubleshooting idea: some of our colleagues in France/Quebec have noticed that punctuation is encoded differently in Excel when the language setting is “French” compared to “English”. Some punctuation characters get converted to strange encodings if the file is opened with Excel in “French” setting. One solution is to use “.txt” instead of “.csv”, and not open the file with Excel, but to use a different text editor.