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From |
Ian Watson <i.watson@econ.usyd.edu.au> |

To |
statalist <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu> |

Subject |
st: LaTeX, Stata and mass production |

Date |
Thu, 21 Oct 2004 19:23:53 +1000 |

Dave Moore recently wrote, in reponse to a long thread about nice tables from Stata (part of the Wish List thread): Second, I must be the only one who thinks the output generated by stat packages (including SPSS, SAS, Stata, LIMDEP, Systat, Gauss, Splus, etc.) is not suitable for reports, because I've never had any desire to copy output directly from an output window to a word processor to use as is. At best, copying from one to the other saves having to type the relevant information manually, but I typically have to spend a great deal of time reformatting everything to make it pretty enough for my purposes. In fact, I find utilities such as -outreg- infinitely better suited to this task. In fact, in an environment where generating reams of tables is routine, the thought of copying and pasting hundreds of tables is particularly off-putting. Like Marcella, I basically favor linking the desired output to Excel/Word in such a way that the formatting is essentially automatic. I write programs to generate output files that I load into Excel (creating Stata data sets seems an unnecessary step), which makes the whole process faster than copy-paste-reformat, copy-paste-reformat, .... I would agree wholeheartedly. As someone who has to also mass produce descriptive tables and make them look nice, I long ago abandoned the copy-paste-reformat routine. When I used SPSS there was no easy way to automate it. On the other hand, a little bit of Stata programming allows one to automate all these mass production jobs and run a series of batch files. A sudden decision to change the weighting, or some other hiccough, simply results in a new batch run (perhaps 10 minutes which you have a cup of tea). With the copy-paste-reformat routine, you're looking at days of work ... While there a various options of getting the tables into Word/Excel, an option which is truly automatic is to go the LaTeX route. The choice depends on whether it's essential to have a Word version of the final "nice" presentation or not. If the end user / audience only requires the final "nice" presentation as a PDF file, then the LaTeX route produces beautiful output straight from Stata. (More on this in a moment). If they require a Word version (but not necessarily as pretty as the PDF), then the PDF file can be converted into Word. Tools for this include OmniPage Pro and ScanSoft PDF Converter (the latter is considerably cheaper than the former). The downside is the need to learn LaTeX ... Finally, I come to the point of my email. I'm currently revising two Stata programs I wrote a couple of years ago -latab- and -latabstat- which turn the output from tabulate and tabstat into LaTeX code. I've found that the approach I took in LaTeX terms doesn't really suit me anymore, and I'm considering other options (mainly to do with the tops and tails of the tables). I really like Ben Jann's wonderful -estout- which uses an innovative approach to user-defined output, and am considering variations on that. Anyway, I'd like to hear from LaTeX users (off list), and particularly anyone who's used -latab- or -latabstat-, about what improvements to the LaTeX approach to tables they might find useful. I'm also developing a new Stata-LaTeX program - called "bigtable" (btab.ado) - for building large tables which incorporate many vertical variables cross-tabbed by a single horizontal variable. Row or column percentages, control over decimal points, bolding for subheadings etc. I'm also considering allowing user-defined delimiters which would allow for HTML output as well as LaTeX. My motivation has been the need to produce these kinds of tables in a mass production way for use in the reports which our centre regularly produces. I'd be keen to hear from anyone (off list) with an interest in beta testing "bigtable" and suggesting improvements. -- Kind regards, Ian ================================= Ian Watson Senior Researcher acirrt University of Sydney NSW 2006 Australia Phone: 02 9351 5622 Fax: 02 9351 5615 Email: i.watson@econ.usyd.edu.au Web: www.acirrt.com ================================ * * For searches and help try: * http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/res/findit.html * http://www.stata.com/support/statalist/faq * http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/stata/

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