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Re: st: STATA Wish List

From   Richard Williams <>
Subject   Re: st: STATA Wish List
Date   Wed, 20 Oct 2004 07:04:46 -0500

At 11:14 AM 10/20/2004 +0100, wrote:

However SPSS (although I hate to admit it) does have some very nice little
features which are absent in STATA:
As a long-time SPSS user, I can sympathize with most of these requests.

*       A variable information screen which is similar in appearance to a
spreadsheet (with scroll facilities) - each row provides information on one
variable - name, variable and value labels. This is great for pinpointing
variables of interest in a dataset containing a thousand variables which you
are not familiar with.
It is not just an information screen -- you can also edit the information, e.g. define missing values, value and variable labels, etc. And, like you say, you can see all the variables (or at least a screen-fulls worth) at once. Definite edge to SPSS here, and it seems like something that would be cloneable.

*       Ability to quickly copy over selected output straight to Microsoft
Word which looks as good as it does in the output window. I know you can
achieve this by running STATA's "translate" command but a quicker way would
be preferred. A two way output screen similar in appearence to SPSS's that
allows users to effortlessly copy over selected output to Word would be
ideal (but I think that's asking a bit much).
True, that can be nice. However, I think that part of the tradeoff for Stata's open-endedness is that you don't get output that looks quite as pretty or is so easy to manipulate like SPSS's is. I imagine user contributions to Stata would plummet if everybody had to make their output look like SPSS's does with all the options for manipulating its appearance.

In general, Stata is a more powerful and logical program. But, SPSS has obviously spent zillions on the user interface and pretty output. If you need to quickly produce descriptive stuff (e.g. "lots of mind numbing contingency tables") that looks nice for basic reports, SPSS may be a lot better.

Richard Williams, Notre Dame Dept of Sociology
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