Frequently Asked Questions About
Now You're Cooking! 

Recipe Importing

Can NYC import Compu-Chef files?


We have developed a utility program to convert Compu-Chef text export files to NYC’s generic text format (which can be imported into NYC).  Here is the process:


  1. Your recipes from Compu-Chef should be in a text file (*.ccf file extension). 


  1. Download the CvrtCompuChef2NYCgen utility program and install it.  Run CvrtCookn2NYCgen to convert Compu-Chef text recipe files (*.ccf) into NYC’s generic text import format.  This utility program will read your Compu-Chef text file and create a new text file in NYC generic format that has “NYCgen.txt” added to the filename.   This output file will be in the same folder as your Compu-Chef export text file.


  1. Use NYC File… Import Recipes… to import the resulting *NYCgen.txt file that was created by CvrtCompuChef2NYCgen.


Can NYC import Cook’n files?


We have developed a utility program to convert Cook’n text export files to NYC’s generic text format (which can be imported into NYC).  Here is the process:


  1. Export your recipes from Cook’n to a text file (*.txt file extension). 


  1. Download the CvrtCookn2NYCgen utility program and install it.  Run CvrtCookn2NYCgen to convert Cook’n text recipe files into NYC’s generic text import format.  This utility program will read your Cook’n text file and create a new text file in NYC generic format that has “NYCgen” added to the filename.   This output file will be in the same folder as your Cook’n export text file.


  1. Use NYC File… Import Recipes… to import the resulting *NYCgen.txt file that was created by CvrtCookn2NYCgen.


Can NYC import Micro Cookbook files, or is there some other way of transferring such recipes to NYC?


If Micro Cookbook can export to Meal-Master or Mastercook text formats, then NYC can import those directly using File... Import Recipes...  If not, but Micro Cookbook can export to some other text format, you can touch up the export file into NYC's generic text format (using a text editor like Notepad) and import using File... Import Recipes...  See the file "generic.txt" in your NYC \user folder for examples of this simple text format.


I got a new computer with the latest NYC and my cookbooks are on my old computer.  Even zipped my cookbooks are over diskette size - any suggestions??  


You could put all the .zip files into one .zip file that spans multiple diskettes using WinZip.  In other words, create an “” file on your A:\ drive, then use WinZip to Add all your .zip (zipped cookbook) files to it.  WinZip will prompt you for additional diskettes as it needs them to span the “” file across how every many diskettes it needs.


Here are a few other ways to get your cookbooks from your old to your new computer to get around a 1.44MB diskette size limit: 


You can first try making the cookbooks smaller for the transfer via diskette:


  1. Export your recipes to a text file.  Text files are smaller than NYC cookbooks and may fit on diskettes.  NYC cookbooks are databases with lots of extra space in them for unused recipe fields.


  1. Defrag your cookbooks to make them smaller (Tools… Data Management… Cookbooks tab… Defrag) – then they might fit on diskette.


  1. Or break the cookbooks into smaller cookbooks using File… Export Recipes… to other NYC cookbooks so that when zipped each cookbook will fit on a 1.44MB diskette.    


Failing that, you need a transfer medium other than a diskette.  One of these may work for you, depending on your system:


  1. Network the computers.  If both computers have a network interface card, you don’t need a hub or anything fancy to network them.  Just plug a “crossover” cable between them and set up a little 2-computer network.  Then share the drive on the old computer (rt click the drive in Explorer and use Sharing…), and map it on the new computer (Tools… Map Drive…).  Then use File Explorer to copy-paste from your old computer to the new one as if the shared drive on your old computer were another hard drive on your new computer.   


  1. Burn a CD (640MB) on your old computer and transfer to your new computer using its CD drive.  You will have to uncheck "read only" on all the files transferred this way – files copied to CD seem to get labeled read-only during the process.    


  1. Email them to yourself and retrieve on the other computer.   With large cookbooks, this works best with a high-speed broadband connection like DSL or cable but it will work on 56K modem too (it may take a while if the cookbooks are large).


  1. Install the old hard drive into the new computer (make it slave to your existing hard drive).   See your computer manuals on how to do this.


  1. Hook up an Iomega ZIP drive (100MB or 250MB) to the old computer, copy the zipped cookbooks, then hook up the ZIP drive to your new computer and retrieve the zipped cookbooks.    


  1. Purchase a 16MB USB port key to put into a USB  port (it looks to your computer like another   hard drive)  then copy the data and put the key into   your new  computer to retrieve it.   I just got one of these from Dell ($30) and it is VERY handy because almost every computer has a USB port, and the key looks like a cig lighter – even has a hole on one end for key ring.  I carry it wherever I go.


  1. Use a direct PC-to-PC connection (see your Windows Help on this) using a direct PC-to-PC parallel cable between the parallel ports on both computers.


Where there's a will there's a way... 


How do I transfer my recipes from Mastercook to NYC?


Export your recipes from Mastercook using the .mxp export format.  NYC will import MC’s .mxp format directly using File… Import Recipes….  Importing .mx2 format into NYC is not recommended.  NYC will not import .mcf files because that is MC’s proprietary binary format for cookbooks – it is not an export text format.


How do I import recipes that I can take from and other such sites?


For recipes in any format, you can use Recipes… Screen Import…  Copy-paste recipes from sites like into the Screen Import text window, identify each recipe component, then press the Import button.  You can paste multiple recipes into the Screen Import window.  If the import contains lots of special or hidden characters, you can paste them into NotePad first, then copy-paste from NotePad into NYC’s Screen Import area.


When using the File… Quick Web Recipes… feature, can I download several files, then select more than one .zip  file and import them all in one step, creating several new cookbooks?


Yes, that is possible.  Select more than one zip file in Step 2 of the Quick Web process and NYC will build a cookbook for each zip file.  There is a limit on the total number you can select at once due to string length, but you should be able to select 5-10 at a time.


I can't seem to find the NYC \temp file to download my recipes into.  Find (folders and programs) on the windows start menu shows nothing, so I don't know where to download recipes once I do get them or how to unzip once I've managed that.


NYC creates the \temp subfolder automatically when you use the File... Quick Web Recipes... feature.  This is the only feature that requires that downloaded recipe files be in the \temp folder.  The File… Quick Web Recipes feature will automatically download, unzip, create new cookbook, and import the unzipped recipes into the new cookbook.  We suggest you master Quick Web Recipes first before tackling these steps individually.


Later, when your skill with NYC increases, you can learn to import from different sources into your open cookbook using the File… Import Recipes… feature.  You will need to 1) download recipe files using your browser (and remember the folder where you put them); 2) unzip the files (File… Unzip Cookbooks… will work for this); and 3) use File... Import Recipes... to import the unzipped files.


When you scan your recipes, what software do you use? OCR or something like that? What is OCR?


OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition, and it is the software that converts bitmap images (scans) of recipes into text, which can be imported into NYC.  Most good scanners have OCR software built into the scanner software.  My scanner uses Paperport software, which has a decent OCR feature.

How do I use NYC’s generic text format for importing my text recipes into NYC?  How do I scan my recipes into NYC?

NYC's generic text file format is useful for importing scanned, typewritten recipes, or recipes obtained from the internet usegroups.  The first task is to get the recipes into a text file (not a word processor file).  If you are using a scanner, you must be familiar with your scanner's OCR (optical character recognition) capability and be able to create a text file from your scan. If your recipes are in a word-processor file, remove all tabs and save the file as a text file.

Then you touch up the recipe with a text editor until it is in NYC generic text format.  This is a free format that separates recipe components with blank lines.  Use a good text editor for this if you have large files (Professional File Editor (PFE), TextPad, UltraEdit, etc.). The generic text format is easy -- it basically requires major components of a recipe in a specific order with blank lines in between each component.  Recipes start with 5 @s.  After the 5 @ signs, add the major recipe components (title, categories list, ingredient list, directions), leaving a blank line between each component.  Make sure you use a text editor and you do not have any special characters in your recipe, such as tabs.  The generic text format looks like this:

     (at least 1 blank line here)
RECIPE NAME  (all on one line - 60 chars max.)
     (at least 1 blank line here)
CATEGORIES  (e.g., desserts, pies, fruit)  if none , enter "none", continue to next line with trailing comma
    (at least 1 blank line here)
QTY  UNIT  INGRED;  PREPARATION  (precede continuation line with "-") or ingred header like
    - - - - FROSTING - - - - with no qty or unit; if none, enter "none"
     (at least 1 blank line here)
     (everything to end of file or to next @@@@@ is assumed to be directions unless preceded with "Yield:", "Contributor:", or "Preparation Time:")

This arrangement resembles most recipes that you find.  Thus, you will usually just need to place the "@@@@@" line at top of each recipe, put in a categories line, and then make sure you have blank lines between recipe elements.  You can separate recipe ingredients with a header that starts and ends with 5 dashes (e.g.,  -----TOPPINGS-----).  Here is a real example:

-----------START OF EXAMPLE------------

meat, mexican,

1 lb hamburger
1 lb cheddar cheese; grated
1 pkg taco spice
12 x taco shells
1 head lettuce; chopped
1 jar (8 oz) salsa or picante sauce

Brown hamburger.  Drain meat.  Stuff ingredients in shells.
Add salsa.  Eat hot.

Yield:  12 servings
Contributor:  Gary Hauser
Preparation Time:  00:10
----------END OF EXAMPLE-------------

Notes on categories input:

To specify categories, simply separate them with commas between the categories.  You can continue categories onto the next line, but make sure each categories line ends with a comma and do not wrap a multi-word category from one line to the next (i.e., always end each category line with a complete category and comma).

NYC expects a categories line.  You should try to always use a categories line, using "none" if you wish to specify no categorization.  NYC will attempt to handle a missing categories line by checking if the next character encountered after the recipe title is a numeric.  If so, NYC takes this as an ingredient line and assumes no categories input.  If this character is alpha, NYC assumes the line (and those after it until the next blank line) contains categories.  Thus, if you see a lot of quantities and ingredients errantly imported as categories after an import, you can bet that you had a missing categories line in one of your generic text imports.

Notes on ingredient input:

Every recipe requires at least one ingredient.

In recipe ingredients for generic imports, you should always try to have a qty, unit, and ingredient description.   The minimal ingredient input is the ingredient description (blank qty and unit), but for best results it is good practice to always use a non-blank qty, unit, and ingredient.

NYC will properly interpret a blank qty AND blank unit (i.e., just an ingredient description), but if you want just the qty or unit to be blank, you must use the placeholders described below.

To force NYC to leave the qty field blank, enter "0" for the qty.   For qty, you can use decimal or fraction.  If you use fractions, use this convention for compound fractions:  "1 1/4".  Never use special characters in your compound fractions (like "1+1/4").

To force NYC to leave the unit field blank, use "x" for the unit, as shown in the tacos example above.   For units, you can use "clove (0.5 oz)" or similar unit to accurately specify unit size.  While "4 apples" is acceptable to NYC, "4 green apples" is not acceptable, because NYC cannot determine whether "green" is a unit or part of the ingredient description.  To avoid this ambiguity, use "4 x green apples" and the "x" will be interpreted as a blank unit.

To add a  preparation (e.g., "sliced", "chopped", "peeled, sliced"), add a ";" to the end of the ingredient description, then add the preparation.

To separate groups of ingredients, use an ingredient header.  An ingredient header has blank qty and unit, and for the ingredient description, use a descriptor surrounded by at least 4 dashes, like "-----TOPPINGS-----" in the tacos example above.

Notes on directions input:

NYC will remove single carriage returns when formatting your directions.  Use 2 carriage returns to force a blank line to appear in your directions.  Make sure not to use reserved strings like 5 @ signs, multiple dashes, "meal-master" or "mastercook" .

Directions are optional in recipes.

Notes on other additions:

After the recipe directions, you can optionally add a yield line, contributor line, and preparation time line as shown here:

Yield:  3 servings
Contributor:  Gary Hauser
Preparation Time:  00:10

You can also use Glen Hosey's MM Buster program to put generic text recipes into MM format, which can then be imported directly into NYC using File... Import Recipes...

You can also import text recipes pasted to a text box using Recipes... Screen Import... (v5.20 and higher).  Paste recipe(s) in the textbox, then highlight major components and identify them with a button click, then press the Import button.

Once your recipes are in generic text format, you can run NYC and use File… Import Recipes… to import the recipe file into your NYC cookbook.

What is the easiest way to get all my hardcopy recipes into NYC?

You can enter new recipes using the recipe edit window, but this window is intended primarily for modifications.  Here are faster ways to enter your own recipes into NYC cookbooks:

1.  type recipes into the Screen Import window (Recipes… Screen Import…), identify recipe components, then press Import;

2.type recipes into the Screen Import window in NYC’s generic text format, then press Import;

3.  scan recipes and save them in a text file using your scanner’s OCR (optical character recognition) feature, touch up the file into NYC generic text format (see generic.txt for examples) using a text editor, then import text file using File… Import Recipes…;

4.  type recipes into a text file using NYC's generic text format, then import text file using File… Import Recipes….

Using Quick Web Recipes (classic), how do I to direct the download to my NYC \temp folder?

The exact browser command for this depends on your browser, but it starts by right-clicking the file you want to download.  In Netscape, you right click the file and select Save Link As... and then direct the download to the NYC \temp folder.  In MS Internet Explorer, right click the file and select Save Target As.... and direct the download to the NYC \temp folder.  Your version of either browser should have an analogous feature for directing downloads to a certain folder.

I managed to download one recipe file from your recipe library, but I cannot get it unzipped, don't know how to.  I also cannot get anything to download to NYC \temp file--don't even know if I have a \temp file.  Can you help --step by step, please?

Here is a step-by-step on how to get NYC's Quick Web Recipes feature working, which would be the most helpful in your situation.

When you use NYC's Quick Web Recipes... utility to download recipes from our site, you need to know how to specify what folder your browser should put the download into.  Do this by right clicking the file (in Netscape or MSIE) and selected "Save File As..." or "Save Target As..." or something similar to do the download into your specified folder.  Read your browser Help on all the right-click menu commands you see until you find the right one.  Specify NYC's \temp folder (probably “c:\Program Files\Nycxxx\user” where xxx is NYC version number) for your Quick Web Recipes downloads anytime you use File... Quick Web Recipes....  

In summary, if you use Quick Web Recipes to download files into your NYC \temp folder (yes, you have one - it gets created when you install NYC), then NYC will download the file, unzip it, create a new cookbook, and import the recipe file into the new cookbook automatically.

Can NYC import recipes from Key Home Gourmet software?

Not officially.  However, NYC users have found that the KHG export format is exactly like that of Mastercook, so with some minor editing KHG recipes can be imported directly into NYC.  Before trying to import a .kxp file created by KHG, edit the .kxp file and change each occurrence of "Exported from Key Home Gourmet" to "Exported from Mastercook" (this line precedes each recipe in the file and each must be changed).  NYC will then recognize each recipe as Mastercook format and import it.  We found that this worked perfectly on .kxp example files provided to us by users.

You may also want to rename the modified .kxp file to have a .mxp extension.  NYC will then recognize it as an importable file extension, displaying the file automatically in the import file dialog.

How exactly do I get Meal-Master recipes off the internet and get them into NYC ?

In NYC v5, use the File... Quick Web Recipes... feature.


Using NetscapeTM or another suitable browser, click on the link to the Recipe Library from NYC WWW main page. Then click on one of the recipe files in the table (e.g., When you see the dialog box that has the buttons More Info..., Pick App..., Save File As..., and Cancel, press Save File As...  Select a filename and directory location and press OK. The file will then download to your browser's download directory. Unzip the file using WinZip 6+TM or NYC's File... Unzip Cookbook... feature. 

If you are a newcomer to the internet, downloading, or zip utilities, you may want to visit this nice site for newcomers .

Once you have the recipe file downloaded and unzipped, run NYC and select File... Import Recipes... . When you get the file list box prompt, select the directory where the Meal-MasterTM file resides (dbl-click the directory name). Candidate *.txt and *.mmf files should then appear in the filename box. Select the MM filename to be imported and press OK (or simply dbl-click the filename). The file should be recognized by NYC as a Meal-Master file; press Import and NYC should start importing. When it is done, it will show you a summary report (press Details... for more info); click OK, and the added recipes should be evident in the # of recipes in the File Stats window.

Can I scan recipes from magazines or books into NYC?

If your scanner supports OCR (optical character recognition), you can scan the recipes into text files, and then modify them with a text editor (like Notepad) into NYC's generic text import format (see “generic.txt” in your NYC \user folder for examples of this format).  Or you can run Glen Hosey's MM Buster program on the scanned recipes to convert the text files to Meal-Master format, then use NYC File...Import Recipes... to import them as MM recipes.

How do I import recipes without NYC adding recipes to categories?

Do your importing into a new, empty cookbook and then use the "unassign all" button in Recipes... Assign Recipes... to unassign all the recipes in the new cookbook. Before importing, you may also want to uncheck the option "transfer new categories" to avoid adding imported category names to your category list.

How do I import recipes without importing categories?

Uncheck "transfer new categories" in Tools… Options... Import/Export tab. 

Where can I find the Meal-MasterTM recipe formatting rules?

Here are the Meal-Master format specs. View them here and print or download them.

After I import Meal-MasterTM recipes, the preparation for an ingredient is sometimes appended to the ingredient. Why?

In a Meal-MasterTM file, NYC only recognizes the semi-colon as delimiter between an ingredient and its preparation, and an ingredient's preparation must follow the ingredient on the line or in a continuation line. Commas or other characters are assumed by NYC to delimit ingredient adjectives (which NYC puts with the ingredient) or to delimit multiple preparations for an ingredient (after the semi-colon). What you describe will occur if someone uses a comma or a character other than a semi-colon to delimit an ingredient and its preparation. Also, some people format recipes in such an ambiguous way that NYC cannot decide what is preparation and what is ingredient (e.g., putting preparation as an adjective before the ingredient). A prime example of ambiguous ingredient formatting is "peeled, sliced, potatoes" instead of the proper formatting "potatoes; peeled, sliced".

It seems that whenever I convert a large batch of Meal-MasterTM recipes, a few do not get converted, and are flagged as "failed" by NYC .

Some MM recipes will fail to convert. These "failed" recipes are almost always bad MM formatting by the originator or they contain ingredient descriptions that exceed NYC's 35-character limit on this field. When ingredients exceed this character limit, NYC attempts to add the remainder to the preparations field. If this cannot succeed without truncating the ingredient description, the recipe is failed. Failed recipes are stored in a *.emm file for easy touchup. Use the Details... button on the Conversion Status window after import to access this text file, touch up the bad recipes, and reimport them.

On very rare occasions, a recipe may exceed NYC 's limits on number of ingredients (100) or number of characters in directions (15000 in v5, 7500 in v4), and it will not convert. Some exceed NYC's limit on number of characters in the recipe name (60), but NYC issues only a warning in these cases, and truncates the incoming name.

All recipes should, of course, be inspected afterward for proper conversion. Recipes with bad MM format can be touched up with the external editor before the next conversion attempt. Here it is useful to use a properly formatted MM recipe (one that converted successfully) as a template.

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Last Updated:  1/2/2009 10:06 AM

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