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Re: st: destring command

From   "Seed, Paul" <>
To   "" <>
Subject   Re: st: destring command
Date   Mon, 26 Sep 2011 14:37:20 +0100

Fundamentally, Nick is right in his advice to Abu.
"-" should not be included in the ignore() option for -destring-.
-destring- ignores individual characters, not 
text strings (whether separated by spaces of quotation marks).
It is very useful if this is borne in mind.

Before invoking Nick's suggestion, 
Abu should remove all unwanted occurrences of "--"

This can be done by 
	replace v13 = "" if v13 == "--"

A useful trick to use before -destring- is 
tab v13 if real(v13) == ""
This will reveal all and only the values that do not come across correctly.

Abu also gives a list of examples. 
I am not sure what to happen to two of them :

- -1.388
- -3.301

Are these to be read as  1.388 or -1.388? 
He needs to specify precisely.
He can use something like 
	replace v13 = "-1.388" if v13 == "- -1.388"


Paul T Seed, Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics, 
Division of Women's Health, King's College London
Women's Health Academic Centre KHP
020 7188 3642.

Date: Sat, 24 Sep 2011 10:02:31 +0100
From: Nick Cox <>
Subject: Re: st: destring command

Your problem is self-inflicted. As you are instructing -destring- to
ignore "-", all negative signs are stripped.


On Sat, Sep 24, 2011 at 9:30 AM, Abu Camara <> wrote:

> I am trying the following command to destring variables in the
> IMF weo data just released. I imported it to Stata but all variables
> become string.
> When I use Stata's destring command, values that are negative becomes
> positive, i.e. lose the negative sign.
> Any help would be appreciated. A loop to do this task at once will
> also be appreciated.
> Command: destring v13, gen(yr1983) ignore(, n/a -- )

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