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st: What's new in v12 file format? [was: stattransfer]

From   Nick Winter <[email protected]>
To   [email protected]
Subject   st: What's new in v12 file format? [was: stattransfer]
Date   Fri, 19 Aug 2011 12:46:34 -0400

I just compared the documentation of the dta file format for v11 and v12 (i.e., dataset format 114 and dataset format 115) available in -help dta- from each version of Stata. That turned up no differences other than the actual dataset format version number.

Can Statacorp explain the difference?

Nick Winter

On 8/18/2011 3:18 PM, Roger Newson wrote:
Thanks to Svend for this timely warning about the potential hazards of

It is difficult to find these deep technical details in the official
Stata documentation, although there seems to be a lot of stuff in -[P]
file formats .dta- and the associated online help, at least for those of
us who can find the time to read them. On the other hand, both StataCorp
and Circle Systems (who make Stat/Transfer) need to make a living, so
maybe I should update to Stat/Transfer Version 11 if I want to minimize
these issues.

Best wishes


Roger B Newson BSc MSc DPhil
Lecturer in Medical Statistics
Respiratory Epidemiology and Public Health Group
National Heart and Lung Institute
Imperial College London
Royal Brompton Campus
Room 33, Emmanuel Kaye Building
1B Manresa Road
London SW3 6LR
Tel: +44 (0)20 7352 8121 ext 3381
Fax: +44 (0)20 7351 8322
Email: [email protected]
Web page:
Departmental Web page:

Opinions expressed are those of the author, not of the institution.

On 18/08/2011 18:28, Svend Juul wrote:
Peter Lachenbruch wrote:

In trying to convert a Stata 12 data set to excel using
StatTransfer, i got the message that the Stata 12 format
is not supported.

.. and there were a few comments from other users, including
use of the -saveold- command.


This is a bit confusing because -whatsnew11to12- does not mention
any change of file format from version 11 to 12. I actually
wonder if the file format changed at all (and if yes, why?).

If you use the -saveold- command in Stata 12, it creates a Stata 8/9
dataset, so if you have date-and-time data, Stata 10 or 11
will not format them correctly.

I wrote to tech support about this, also urging StataCorp to avoid
changing the behavior of a command without changing its name
(which actually happened in Stata 10: In Stata 8/9, -saveold-
created a version 7 dataset; in Stata 10/12 it creates a version
8/9 dataset).

The documentation (saveold) states that Stata 11 is "smart enough" to
read Stata 12 datasets, but this is currently not the case.

Svend Juul
+45 2634 7796
[email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>

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Nicholas Winter                                 434.924.6994 t
Associate Professor                             434.924.3359 f
Department of Politics                  [email protected] e
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