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Re: st: Stata vs SPSS


From   "Walter R. Paczkowski" <dataanalytics@earthlink.net>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu, statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: Stata vs SPSS
Date   Sat, 14 Oct 2006 08:52:43 -0400

Good morning,

I just have to add my two-cents to this. I'm a relatively new user to Stata, having already used very heavily SAS and S-Plus. I love S for it's flexibility and programming, and SAS for its extensive library. I was hoping Stata would ultimately replace SAS in my tool kit for various reasons. But once I realized that it's next to impossible to get reports seamlessly from Stata to, say, PowerPoint, I practically gave up on it. Stata output appears very nicely on screen, but you this output can't be copied into PowerPoint and have it look like what Stata produced. When copied, the result is distorted (the font issue) and without lines or formatting, plus, as Fred noted, one can't create somewhat complicated reports for clients (clients who have no patience to wait while you write a program). I have to spend my time reformatting what should already be formatted correctly. I know there are programs to do this because I've posted queries to this listserv on this issue before, but why do I have to use them??? I should just be able to copy and paste, and that's it. For those who love programming, then let them write programs. For those of us who need results, then provide a better way for us to get them. Don't misunderstand, I program extensively - but when I need to. Stata Corp. needs to very seriously allocate some R&D to report writing, and very quickly.

Thanks,

Walt Paczkowski

At 09:34 AM 10/14/2006, Fred Wolfe wrote:

Our group recently had an experience with SAS vs. Stata that maybe illuminating. We collected, managed and analyzed data from a clinical trial using interfaces that we in part designed that made use of scanning software (Teleform), SQL and Stata. At the end of the study the sponsor unexpectedly asked us for 102 specially formatted tables. The format of the tables was complex, but was based on SAS generated tables that were standard for the sponsor. The tables had multiple columns, statistics placed at special points within the tables, group comparisons and interspersed headings. Although we could easily produce individual components of the tables, the completed tables as requested was something we could not do but that they did easily in SAS. When I say we could not do it, I don't mean it was impossible. But at best it would have required very complex Stata programming. The amount of work required on our part would have been enormous and we refused to do it. Instead, we provided the corporate sponsor with SAS files using -fdasave- so that they could make the tables they wished.

Stata has problem with output formatting and reports. Although this is rarely limiting for manuscripts and short reports, a substantial number of postings to this list (and programs) are concerned with production of formatted output. In the world I live in, I have to share output with colleagues and journals using the most commonly used formats: MS Word (or equivalent) and Excel (or equivalent). I need attractive, non-proportional fonts, flexible page formatting and simple control of labels and titles. Easy to request and very hard to implement, I'm sure. But such abilities would make Stata an even greater package than it is now.

Fred Wolfe

Fred Wolfe
National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases
Wichita, Kansas
Tel +1 316 263 2125
fwolfe@arthritis-research.org


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