The FutureWare Spreadsheet Power ImPorter application is used to generate an Import file from a selected Excel worksheet, either as a tab delimited plain text file, or as a rich text document that includes style information (e.g., fonts, their sizes and colors, etc.), eliminating time-consuming file interpretation and version dependency issues, as well as enhancing application stability and security. It also eliminates requiring any specialized knowledge of Excel use and manipulation. The SPIP application can be directly exploited by Pagemaker or Quark, with particularly dramatic savings in time and increased efficiency over the "native" Excel import methods of these layout programs. It is particularly effective when the Excel file contains large tabular datasets, such as name/address lists, extended directories, parts catalogs, etc. Column header descriptions can be changed, and the column positions re-ordered, without changing the underlying Excel data. Multiple columns can be collected into a group for quick single element insertion (e.g., combining City, State and ZipCode columns into one). Row data can be indented with hard returns and leading tabs to make more efficient use of limited layout space. Column values can have leading and trailing text strings, eliminating the need to edit each inserted element manually. The Excel data can be sorted on up to three column headers as sort keys before the Import file is generated.