How to use SPSS/Tips

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File types[edit]

There are three types of files:

  • .sav (data files)
  • .spo (output files)
  • .sps (syntaxt files.

Syntax[edit]

  1. Syntax is recommended because of its efficiency, particularly for large, complex studies because it provides a record of commands so that they can be easily re-run.
    • For an introduction to syntax, see SPSS - Help - Tutorials - Using Syntax
    • SPSS commands all finish with a full-stop.
    • Comments can be added using * comment . (each command must finish with a full-stop)
    • Blank lines are ignored
    • Casing is ignored
    • Click cursor anywhere within a command and click run (the black triangle) - this executes one command; to execut multiple commands highlight at least some part of all commands of interest, then click run.
    • Save your syntax file regularly - because SPSS will crash (sooner or later).
  2. To show the syntax in the output:
    • Edit - Options - Viewer - Display commands in log
  3. To show variables names (not labels) in dialog boxes:
    • Edit - Options - General
      • Display names (often easier than labels)
      • File order or alphabetical order?