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st: MS Office and Stata: a general suggestion


From   "Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: MS Office and Stata: a general suggestion
Date   Thu, 10 Jun 2004 19:06:05 +0100

The current thread on MS Word and graphs prompts 
me to revive a suggestion I made some time ago. 
This email boils down to asking others to do some 
work, which may seem impertinent or inappropriate, 
but in view of other Stata-linked commitments that 
I have I hope I can be forgiven for making 
the suggestion without volunteering myself. 

I trust that Statalist members are aware of 
the FAQs hosted by StataCorp 

http://www.stata.com/support/faqs

and by the very productive UCLA team

http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/stata/

Among other FAQs is a collective one on 
text editors and Stata 

http://fmwww.bc.edu/repec/bocode/t/textEditors.html

which is the result (as is public now) of
the work of 29 people (a revision in 
the wings will raise that to 30). This 
is _not_ hosted by StataCorp because 
too much of it includes stuff linked
to proprietary software: simply, it would not 
be appropriate for one software company 
to carry a document making comments 
about other products. 

For the same kinds of reasons, I doubt 
very much that StataCorp want to host 
substantial documentation on 
how to interface MS Office and Stata, 
especially if it touched on problems, 
limitations, work-arounds, etc., as
seems likely. Yet it is clear that many -- indeed 
probably most -- members of Statalist 
are also work with one or more of Word, 
Excel, Access, etc. -- so much so that some of us, 
sometimes seriously, sometimes mischievously, 
want to keep adding reminders of other
worlds out there. (FWIW, I use Windows, but 
I make very little use of MS Office.) 

My suggestion is simple. I made it some 
time ago, and there was an immediate 
willing public volunteer, but nothing has 
happened. No criticism implied: we 
are all busy people, and some promises
cannot be kept, especially on extras
outside the day job. 

The suggestion is that someone organise
a collective FAQ on MS Office and Stata. 
There is no shortage of raw material: 
a trawl through the Statalist archives 
would yield all sorts of bits and pieces. 
Also, once such a FAQ were set up, 
lots of people would find that some of 
the little tricks they have found -- 
usually things that are obvious 
once understood, but long in the 
finding -- were not documented, 
and they would be able to add their own 
stone to the cairn. 

So, my question is someone able and 
willing to do this? Or, if, 
exceptionally, several people do, 
can you sort out among yourselves who 
is going to do it? 

I'll add just one more thing. 
I think, from the experience of 
the text editors FAQ, that it does 
need one coordinator to impose, 
a little arbitrarily, some overall 
strucure and style and editorial 
control. No nucleation of material 
without a nucleus! 

Nick 
n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk 

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