Chapter 26

Getting Acquainted with Syntax


check Learning about the Paste button

check Dealing with repetitive calculations more efficiently

check Labeling with Syntax

check Repeatedly generating routine reports

You've probably encountered folks who perform statistical calculations and build statistical models by coding in R and Python, two open-source languages. Well, SPSS has a programming language, and for decades this language was the only way to work in SPSS.

Frankly, you might be glad that you can work in menus because they provide a lot of help. However, almost everything that happens in SPSS is the result of Syntax running behind the scenes. For example, when you use a dialog to specify a set of options and then click OK, Syntax commands are generated and executed. In fact, you’ve already seen examples of Syntax at the top of the SPSS Statistics Viewer window every time a command runs.

If you take a look at the Help menu, you will find the Command Syntax Reference, which is a real door stopper at more than 2,000 pages. (Don’t try reading that until you read this chapter and the next ...

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