maybe you can help me with this haite, or spockirk... have you taken VB? i have to write a program that reads from a text file (.dat). the text file is in this format: "John","Male",35 "Mary","Female",27 etc... my program needs to read from that file, calculate the average age of everyone and calculate how many males and females there are. this is my first program doing something like this and i'm not sure how to start. i know about the string reading functions like Instr, Right, Left, and Mid. I know that Instr returns a number value of how many characters from the beginning until the search string starts. but won't the line breaks in the .dat file and the fact that these are fixed length strings make it so Instr() doesn't work right? in summary, i know how to do everything needed (open the file, close the file, display results in label control captions, etc) except for how to appropriately extract the right values from the file.