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A flat file database is a type of database that stores data in a single table. This is unlike a relational database, which makes use of multiple tables and relations. Flat file databases are generally in plain-text form, where each line holds only one record. The fields in the record are separated using delimiters such as tabs and commas.
Flat file database tables can be set in various application types, including HTML documents, simple word processors or worksheets in spreadsheet applications. The tables within a flat file database can be sorted based on column values. These tables serve as a solution for simple database tasks.
In spite of the limitations associated with flat files, flat file databases are used internally by various computer applications to store data related to configuration. Most of the applications permit users to store and retrieve information from flat files based on a predefined set of fields.
Flat files include data types common to other databases. A few features of the data in flat file databases include: