Get a text editor and use it. Ironically, the most advanced programs often require the simplest input: ASCII text files. The best way to avoid problems with these types of files is to never use an advanced word processor like Microsoft Office or Mac OSX’s Pages. Don’t even use the simpler text editors that were included in the base install of your operating system (e.g., TextEdit in Mac OSX or Notepad in Windows). Go straight to the your friend the internet and download either TextWrangler (Mac OSX) or TextPad (Windows) (if you're on a UNIX platform you don't need my help!). In addition to sparing you the unbelievable amount of confusion that can result from hidden formatting or invisible extensions, these programs are wonderfully easy to use and full of useful features (It nearly blew my mind to learn that I could use the option key to select columns of text in TextWranger). Use these programs to create, edit, revise, and review all of the files that will be input to or output from text-based applications.
Dechronization is authored by evolutionary biologists interested in the development and application of methods for estimating phylogeny and making phylogeny-based inferences. The goal of the blog is to provide a forum for discussion of the latest research and methods, while also providing anecdotes, tidbits of natural history, and other related information.