As of now I am trying to read in a text file that is tab delimited with uneven columns. My problem is that when I try to split the file into respective lines, I get an "out of array bound" error. I know this is due to have a NULL value in certain row/columns places. Is there a way to just read through each row instead of relying on each column to have a value in it? I have attached my input file for easy viewing.

Here is my code thus far:

        Dim infile As IO.StreamReader = IO.File.OpenText("input.txt")
        Dim lines() As String
        Dim outFile As IO.StreamWriter = IO.File.CreateText("out.txt")

        Dim col1 As Char
        Dim col2 As String
        Dim col3 As String
        Dim col4 As String
        Dim col5 As String

        For Each line In IO.File.ReadAllLines("input.txt")

            lines = infile.ReadLine.Split(vbTab)

            col1 = lines(0)
            col2 = lines(1)
            col3 = lines(2)
            col4 = lines(3)
            col5 = lines(4)     'Error here

            With outFile
            End With


You could try

For Each line As String In System.IO.File.ReadAllLines("d:\temp\test.txt")

    Dim col() As String = {"", "", "", "", ""}
    Dim fld() As String = line.Split(vbTab)

    For i As Integer = 0 To UBound(fld)
        col(i) = fld(i)

    For i As Integer = 0 To UBound(col)
        Debug.WriteLine(" field " & i & " = " & col(i))


Could also do something like this:

For Each line As String in System.IO.File.RealAllLines("input.txt")
    Dim lstData As New List of String
    lstData = line.Split(vbTab).ToList

    For i = 0 To lstData.Count - 1

I think the problem is that he wants to define a field value for each field (null if the field is not present). One obvious problem is what happens when it's not the last field that is missing.

Yes I would like each column assigned to a variable, because i plan to use a switch statement for some of them. Ex- Switch (col1) case "a" case "p". Is there a way to get around some records being null in certain columns? Is it possible just to read by row instead of column since there are uneven columns?

Is there a way to get around some records being null in certain columns?

As long as the fields (including missing ones) are delimited by tabs then my code will work.