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Re: st: compatibility: stata for mac and windows

From   "Michael S. Hanson" <>
Subject   Re: st: compatibility: stata for mac and windows
Date   Sun, 28 Aug 2005 12:11:43 -0400


On Aug 27, 2005, at 4:30 PM, Julia Nasev wrote:

My question concerns the compatibility between output created with stata for mac and stata for windows. If working in a team on the same project are there problems using stata on different operating systems?
The short answer is "no." The slightly longer answer is "not with a few basic precautions," but it depends on how the collaboration occurs. There are three main issues that I have come across when using Stata cross-platform:

1. Avoid absolute file paths. (This strikes me as generally a good idea anyway: greater portability.) If the project is sufficiently complex, create an identical subdirectory structure below some common "project root directory" on every file system, and only use path references relative to this "root." (Note: Stata uses the forward-slash to separate directory levels on all platforms, even Windows. So use '/' instead of '\' for paths in all .do files.)

2. Text files have different line endings on Mac and Windows (and Unix) systems. So long as users on both (all) platforms are using text editors with a minimal degree of sophistication (see <>), it should be straight-forward to read both input files (e.g., .do files) and output files (e.g., .log files) regardless of the line endings used -- and, if necessary, to convert to the desired one. (Note: How the files will be shared -- common server vs. (S)FTP vs. e-mail -- may have implications for this issue.)

3. Save graphics in EPS format. (See -help graph_export-.) While the Mac can natively generate graphics in PDF format, the PC cannot (without jumping through some hoops and purchasing Acrobat, that is; see <> in the StataList archives for details.) WMF, EMF and PICT do not translate well across platforms, and while you could PNG, most non-vector formats do not scale particularly well.

I have found that two other factors can make collaboration much easier, whether cross-platform or not: (1) everyone uses the same version of Stata, with the same additional .ado files installed; (2) everyone uses open-standards file formats (e.g., plain text, EPS, PNG, (La)TeX, etc.) -- instead of, say, proprietary Microsoft formats (namely Word). Hope this helps.

-- Mike

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