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st: RE: variable label length limit

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: RE: variable label length limit
Date   Sun, 7 Feb 2010 17:55:43 -0000

No and yes. 

The primary purpose of variable labels in Stata is surely better labelling of variables within tables and graphs. The reluctance of Stata to change the length limit does not, I think, arise from any memory limit that would bite hard, but from the fact that variable labels much over 80 characters would hardly be readable in most cases. In most cases they would need to be truncated. 

That's not to deny that in circumstances like yours many users want to store metadata with their data. 

The very longstanding Stata answer is to consider using characteristics. See -char- or -notes-. 

Another answer is that you can store text in global and local macros, but that seems less appropriate for your purpose. 


Marcus L Britton

Is there anyway around the 80-character limit for variable labels (I'm using Stata SE, version 10)?  I know people have posted this question to the list before (5-7 years ago), but I'm hoping someone has figured out a work around in the meantime.  My issue is that I sometimes work with both students and colleagues who use SPSS and sometimes come across SPSS files that have lengthy variable names (e.g., the full text of a survey question) that can easily extend to twice or more the maximum number of characters supported by Stata--this information gets lost when using StatTransfer to convert from Stata to SPSS.

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