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st: Importing data with improper variable names

From   Glenn Hoetker <>
Subject   st: Importing data with improper variable names
Date   Tue, 3 Aug 2010 11:07:47 -0500

Greetings all.

I have data downloaded as a text file from a website that comes in a form like

	"Name",	"2001",	"2002",	"2003"
	"Fred", "3", "3", "0" 

It's just a text file, so I'd normally just use

	insheet using data.text, names

However, since variable names can't begin with a number, the last variables get renamed v3 v4 v5.  That's inconvenient, because it's meant to be a year.   I can manually rename v3 to year2001, etc., but would rather not do so--I'll be importing this data fairly often,  v3 may not always map to 2001, and there are actually many more years than I've shown here.

Can anyone suggest a way around this problem?  I'm using Stata 11 and have access to StatTransfer.  I'm on a Mac, giving me access to both AppleScript and the standard Unix suite of tools to pre-process the file, but I'm rusty with those and would prefer a "pure Stata" solution if feasible.  

Thank you for any pointers.


Glenn Hoetker
Julian Simon Faculty Fellow in Business
Associate Professor (Law, Institute for Genomic Biology)
Director, Center for International Business Education and Research
Faculty Fellow, Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership
University of Illinois

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