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Re: st: Multiple simultaneous STATA sessions on Mac

From   Phil Schumm <>
Subject   Re: st: Multiple simultaneous STATA sessions on Mac
Date   Tue, 3 Aug 2010 05:18:27 -0500

On Aug 3, 2010, at 4:01 AM, Francesca Fabbri wrote:
I use STATA 11 on my Mac and I have a problem. On Windows I can open several STATA sessions (to look at different data sets) simultaneously, but I haven't worked out how to do it on the Mac. Does anybody know?

Two comments. First, Stata's paradigm is to have one dataset in memory at any given time. Launching multiple instances of GUI Stata just so you can view multiple datasets at once is really just a kludge to mimic a hypothetical Stata where you could have multiple datasets in memory at once, and view them simultaneously. Of course, what you'd really want to be able to do is to have access to both datasets from the same process, which this kludge wouldn't permit anyway. So, working within the Stata paradigm, if you want to view both datasets (in Stata) together, you should first bring them together (i.e., via - merge-, -append-, etc.).

Second, OS X works hard to keep you from running multiple instances of its GUI applications. Doing so is confusing, and can cause problems (e.g., as multiple copies of the same application try to access and/or modify the same configuration files, cache files, etc.). It simply isn't the way the Finder was designed. Mac development has always emphasized using multiple windows within the same instance of an application rather than running multiple instances.

That said, in the spirit of full disclosure, you can launch multiple instances of GUI Stata on OS X by using open with the -n switch. For example, on my machine

    open -n /Applications/Stata/

(you might have to modify the path, depending upon which version of Stata you have installed, and where it is installed). I believe this should be fairly safe (the most you might do is corrupt your preference file(s)), but can't guarantee it.

Note that I would strongly suggest finding another approach. For example, if your dataset(s) are small and you want to look at them side-by-side, open one in Stata and the other in a text editor, or perhaps a spreadsheet program. You can also summarize both datasets using -codebook-, -inspect-, etc., write these to separate log files, and then open the logs side-by-side. Finally, if you're really doing a lookup type of operation between the two datasets, then this would likely be more efficient if you merge the two together into a single dataset.

-- Phil

P.S. What I've said above applies only to GUI Stata, of course; running multiple instances of console Stata or multiple batch jobs is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

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