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st: describe

From   David Kantor <>
Subject   st: describe
Date   Fri, 12 Sep 2003 09:45:11 -0400

Hi everyone.

I've noticed a certain restriction in -describe-, which presented a bit of a problem. I think I found a solution, but I just thought I'd ask for opinions from the rest of you.

If I do
des var using file1

and var is an abbreviation (not the full name) for a variable in file1, then the command fails. (var does not end with an asterisk.)

But if I -use- file1 and then,
des var

it works fine.

Is there a way to check that a variable exists in a file that is not currently loaded, where the name might possibly be abbreviated? -- without loading that file?

My solution is to append an asterisk on var:
des var* using file1

Thus it succeeds if var is a legitimate abbreviation for at least one variable in file1, which may be a bit imprecise, but good enough for what I'm doing.

Any other suggestions? And has anyone else find this limitation of -describe- to be a problem?


David Kantor
Institute for Policy Studies
Johns Hopkins University

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