October 2008


Hints for Successful Screen Import


Proper Quantity and Units


In recipe ingredients for screen 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. 


Ingredient fields must be specified in this order and fashion:  "qty  unit  ingredient; preparation" .  Use a semi-colon ";" to separate an ingredient (e.g., "onion") from its preparation (e.g., "chopped"). 


NYC attempts to figure out qty and unit from the first two fields of each ingredient line.  Accordingly, when using Screen Import, you need avoid use of two numbers at the start of the ingredient.  For example:


“2 1 lb bags such and such”   would cause problems.  For a successful result, rewrite this ingredient with a mass-qualified unit as:


“2 bags (1 lb) such and such”


The general form for best results is:


qty  space  unit   space   ingredient description ;  preparation 


If you omit the unit altogether, put an "x" in the unit field.


For example, instead of  1 beef chuck pot roast”, use:


"1 x  beef chuck pot roast, boneless"




"3 lb beef chuck pot roast, boneless"


Multi-word ingredients with a qty but no unit are ambiguous to NYC. 


For example, "4 ripe tomatoes" is ambiguous.  To avoid "ripe" being interpreted as a unit, use the placeholder "x" as the unit, as in


"4 x ripe tomatoes". 

"x" used as a unit placeholder has the same meaning as "single", "each", or "individual". 


If you start your ingredient entry with a character, NYC assumes you have omitted qty and unit altogether.  So it is okay to use:


salt and pepper to taste”


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").  


Mass-Qualified Units


If your units of measure have no mass (e.g., loaves, bags, packages, etc), it is best to use a mass-qualified unit so that the mass is not left unspecified.  A unambiguous mass unit is important when NYC combines items in your shopping list and when you do nutrition analyses.  NYC will try to interpret ambiguous units, but may not always make the right choices.  To avoid ambiguity, use mass-qualified units.  Mass-qualified units are in parentheses in the unit designation .


For example, instead of using “small” as a unit, use “small (4 oz)”.  So your ingredient description might be:


1 small (4 oz) egg


instead of


1 small egg


which is ambiguous in terms of mass.


All of the following examples will be properly interpreted by NYC:


1/2 lb flour

1 1/4 bag (8 oz) carrots

salt to taste

pepper to taste

0 x baking soda

4 apples

4 x green apples


Use “-----“ before and after ingredient separator words.  For example:



1 lb kidney beans

1 lb lima beans


1 lb shrimp

2 oz horseradish


4 single carrots

3 stalks celery


Copy-Paste to NotePad First to Remove Hidden Characters


If you copy-paste a recipe from a website, there may be special characters or hidden formatting embedded in the material that you are pasting.  To remove special characters or formatting, try copy-pasting first into Notepad, then copy-paste the text from Notepad into NYC’s Screen Import window.




home | overview | download | features | screenshots | purchase | support
tips | FAQ | recipes | more links | email us

Back to Now You're Cooking! Recipe Software