This website is being frozen (due to lack of space); future developments will be
done in the new site:
Please update your link page.
Please use the index below.
(clicking one of the questions sometimes take you to another page of
Index of SPSS FAQ
What is SPSS?
Where can I find help on my SPSS problem?
Other General questions
How can I use an alternative syntax editor?
(Thanks to Tom Dierickx)
How do I subscribe/unsubscribe to the SPSSX-L mailing list?
How many variables and cases can SPSS for windows handle?
I need to reference SPSS in an article I am writing, how should I
What does SPSS stands for?
Where are the archives of the SPSSX-L list and of the SPSS
Where can I find the formula used by SPSS to calculate statistics
Why is my *.spo file so huge?
Calculations related questions
How do I calculate age?
How do I create an index, ID or key variable? (a.k.a.
Automatic numbering, serial number: 1 for case 1, 2 for case 2, etc)
How do I transfer data to/ from SPSS and...
Tables related questions
How can I show, in the table, categories which have *not* been selected by
For versions earlier than 11.5 see Show empty categories in tables.SPS (2 methods are shown) in this section.
For versions 11.5 or over, this option is directly available from syntax of the
See also the SPSS
FAQ at the University of Texas .
Don't ask if SPSS can do this or that! Ask how
it can be done!
I never expected visitors of this site would ask this question but many
The following brief definition is taken from the SPSS Base User's Guide.
"SPSS is a comprehensive system for analyzing data. SPSS can take
data from almost any type of file and use them to generate tabulated reports, charts, and
plots of distributions and trends, descriptive statistics, and complex statistical
See www.spss.com for more information.
Note that the
address to subscribe & unsubscribe is different than the address used
to post messages to the list!
To subscribe: send an email to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU with no subject, no
signature, but only the words:
SUB SPSSX-L <your name>
in the body of the message. For instance if your name is John Doe the body of the
message would contain
SUB SPSSX-L John Doe
After having registered, you will receive an email from the listserv giving the address
to be used to post emails to the list, get copies of earlier posts, unsubscribe, etc. Read
and keep that email for future reference.
To unsubscribe: send an email to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU with no subject, no
signature, but only the words:
Note that you need to send that email using the same email address to
which you are subscribed. For more information, see www.spss.com/tech/listserves.html#SPSSX_L
and the Listserv Reference Card.
a) Most people will want to use the web based archives
described in b) below.
"Old timers" may prefer to retrieve messages from LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU using the method
described in Listserv Reference Card
For instance sending the command GET SPSSX-L LOG9912 to the LISTSERV would cause the listserv to email you
the full text of postings in December 1999. More commands are described in the Listserv Reference Card. Note that it is also possible
to do searches, for instance one can ask the listserv to forward a copy of all messages
which include the word !ENDDEFINE or the word covariance and were posted between January
1, 2000 and December 1, 2000 (or any other date range).
b) There are two web based archives of SPSSX-L messages:
The best one is www.listserv.uga.edu
it is quick and easy to use. Postings can be sorted by subject, by date or by
author by month. There is also a search facility.
The second choice (if the first one is not available) is www.marist.edu
(be patient this server is slow; look at the bottom of the page
for the search facility).
c) Unlike a mailing list, one does not "register" to a
newsgroup. One simply go and either post, read or search the newsgroup. The Web site groups.google.com contains
searchable archives of most usenet newsgroups including comp.soft-sys.stat.spss.
Many of the formulas used by SPSS are in Algorithms section of
the Support web site, if you have a recent version of SPSS, this information is also
from the CDROM.
The following explanation was posted to the SPSS-X list a few years ago:
"For some historical clarification on the term SPSS as used for the
software package (as opposed to the company), the original name was indeed Statistical
Package for the Social Sciences. When what was to be Release 10 of that package was
released in about 1983, the name was changed to simply SPSS-X (actually, the X was a
superscript). I have seen nothing in any SPSS materials dated later than the early 1980s
that have referred to it as Statistical Package for the Social Sciences or anything other
than just SPSS-X. With Release 4.0, it became just SPSS. There was also SPSS/PC+ for DOS,
and now of course SPSS for Windows, the first release of which was 5.0.
So my understanding is that the term SPSS as applied to the company means
Statistical Product and Service Solutions. As applied to the product or package SPSS, it
now just means SPSS.
Principal Support Statistician and
Manager of Statistical Support
See AnswerNet ID 100007378. Note that beginning with version 10, SPSS
comes with a defrag utility (This is not the disk utility which comes
with window). From Windows Explorer, right click on an *.spo file and select defrag. This
sometimes significantly reduces the size of *.spo files.
Up to version 10, the regular window version has a maximum of 2^15 = 32,768
variables and a maximum of 2^31 = 2.15 billion cases.
The student version is limited to 50 variables and 1,500 cases.
Starting with version
10, the limit on the number of variables
has been removed, the only "hard coded" limit is 2.15 billion
variables. This does not mean that it would make sense to work with
millions of variables. In those cases it would be more efficient to load only
the variables of interest.
Essbase (interface available from SPSS)
MS Access, Excel, Lotus Notes
(interface available from SPSS)
Creating a SAS data set from an SPSS data file
an SPSS data file form an SAS data set
Three situations are discussed:
(Q first situation) I would like to create a new variable (an ID
variable) which would number each case in my data, starting with 1 and ending with n, the
number of cases in the file. How can I do that?
(A first situation)
- Using syntax: COMPUTE id=$CASENUM.(If nothing happens, select
TRANSFORM>RUN PENDING TRANSFORM)
- Using the menu: select TRANSFORM>COMPUTE then enter id in the
Target Variable text box and $casenum in the Numeric Expression text box. Click OK.(If
nothing happens, select TRANSFORM>RUN PENDING TRANSFORM)
Note that $CASENUM is a system variable. The easiest method to find
the list of all system variables is to open spssbase and search
for "$casenum". (Note that pi is not one of the system variable. Use COMPUTE
pi=4*ARTAN(1) to get pi.
(Q second situation) What if I do not have any data in my data file
but I would still like to create an ID variable with values between 1 and 10.
(A second situation): This cannot be done using the menu, you need
- Using syntax:
LOOP id=1 TO 10.
END INPUT PROGRAM.
(Q third situation) I have many cases with the same ID and would like
to create a new variable where I would number consecutively those cases (within each ID).
(A third situation): See the syntax "Number consecutive cases
within a given ID.SPS" in this section.
The following zip file and notes were provided by Tom
Dierickx (Thanks Tom!) It contains
1) Instructions (readme.doc)
2) SPSS syntax submitter (tdRunSyntax.exe)
3) Template clip library (tdSPSS.tcl)
4) Sample keyword list (tdSPSS.syn)
Tom lists the following reasons for using an alternative syntax editor:
Some of the advantages are the following:
1) You can create a "code library" that allows you to maintain/re-use code
2) It has color-coding syntax features
3) It has powerful search-and-replace features (including regular expressions such as
finding tabs, etc.)
4) You can have line numbers display in the left margin, making it easier to keep track
of where you're at!
5) You can have multiple files open at once with tab selectors at the bottom that allow
you to toggle between open documents
6) It has macro capabilities that can record and replay your keystrokes
7) You can setup menu items that run configured tools. For example, I built a small
.exe file in VB that takes any selected text and submits it to SPSS. (In essence, just
like SPSS's syntax editor).
I could probably think of 101 more reasons, but the moral of the story is that I haven't
used the SPSS syntax editor for several months. TextPad is far superior for all of the
above reasons and more. In fact,
you can use it to code for ANY language - Java, HTML/ASP, C++, etc.
Note that it's also useful to set up a new menu item in SPSS that automatically opens
TextPad (with a new, blank .sps document)
The following information is taken from SPSS FAQ:
For most of our products, you can get the complete product name, version or release
number and date of creation from the "About . . ." dialog box that appears under
the "Help" menu. For example, if you have SPSS for Windows, you might see this:
SPSS for Windows
Release 10.0.0 (September 1999)
You can then write a bibliographic citation as follows:
SPSS for Windows, Rel. 10.0.0. 1999. Chicago: SPSS Inc.