Chapter 5. Reading and Writing Files

In This Chapter

  • Understanding the SPSS file format

  • Reading a simple text file into SPSS

  • Transferring data from another application into SPSS

  • Saving SPSS data in various formats

There is no need to put your data into the computer more than once. If you've entered your data in another program, you can copy it from there into SPSS — because every program worth using has some form of output that can serve as input to SPSS. This chapter discusses ways to transfer data into and out of SPSS.

The SPSS File Format

SPSS has its own format for storing data and writes such files with the .sav extension. This file format contains special codes and usually can't be used to export your data to another application. It is used only for saving SPSS data that you want to read back into SPSS at a later time. Several example files in this format are copied to your computer as part of the normal SPSS installation. These files can be found in the same directory as your SPSS installation. You can load any one of them by choosing File

The SPSS File Format

If you have SPSS filled with data, you can save it to a .sav file by choosing File

The SPSS File Format


You can be fooled by the way SPSS help uses the word file. If you have defined data and variables in your program, the SPSS documentation often refers to it all ...

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