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st: destringing and replacing values for several variables

From   "Ann Miller" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: destringing and replacing values for several variables
Date   Wed, 21 Apr 2010 15:35:21 -0400

Dear Statalist, 

I am new to macros and the foreach looping and am trying to simplify my life. I have a list of 40 or so variables (ex: hf_stage1 through hf_stage40) that all have the same string coded values; "Stage 1" "Stage 2" "Stage 3" "Stage 4". I want to change these values to 1, 2, 3 and 4, with value labels of "Stage 1" "Stage 2" "Stage 3" and "Stage 4". What I have done in the past is: 

 replace hf_stage1="1" if hf_stage1=="Stage 1"
 replace hf_stage1="2" if hf_stage1=="Stage 2", etc., 
destring hf_stage1,replace
 and for each value generate a label.

 I then have to repeat this for every variable (hf_stage2 through hf_stage40). It works, but is time consuming and I sometimes make mistakes. I feel sure there's a way to do this with macros and foreach but there's something I'm missing so far. 

Here's what I've tried:

local varlistfoo "hf_stage1 hf_stage2 hf_stage3"

. foreach var of `varlistfoo' {
  2. replace  var= "1" if  var=="Stage 1"
  3. replace  var= "2" if  var=="Stage 2"
  4. replace  var= "3" if  var=="Stage 3"
  5. }
invalid syntax

. foreach varname of varlist  hf_stage1 hf_stage2 hf_stage3{
  2. replace  varname= "1" if  varname=="Stage 1"
  3. replace  varname= "2" if  varname=="Stage 2"
  4. }
variable varname not found

I can't even get the first step, let alone destringing and replacing! Any advice you all can offer would be greatly appreciated.Thank you!

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