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RE: st: Individual IDs with non-numeric characters

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   RE: st: Individual IDs with non-numeric characters
Date   Tue, 3 Feb 2009 20:12:56 -0000

In addition, see 

How do I create individual identifiers numbered from 1 upwards? 

for an expansion of the ideas behind Phil's approach. Note that 

. search IDs 


. search identifiers 

would have thrown up this FAQ. 


Phil Schumm

On Feb 2, 2009, at 4:58 PM, Benson Limann wrote:
> The individual IDs in my dataset are in the string format. I  
> currently use -destring- to make them numeric. But, unfortunately,  
> some individual IDs have non-numeric characters. As a result, - 
> destring- with the -force- option deletes all these individuals  
> automatically.
> Given that I want to sort all the observations, is it possible to  
> keep these individuals with non-numeric IDs?

It's unclear what you're asking -- if some IDs have non-numeric  
characters that you want to preserve, then you have no choice but to  
leave the variable as a string.  Why would you want to destring your  
ID variable anyway, given the headaches that a long numeric ID can  
cause (if not handled properly)?  If the only reason is to facilitate  
the use of commands that require a numeric identifier (e.g., -xtset-),  
then this is easily addressed, e.g.:

egen panel = group(id)
xtset panel

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