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Re: st: Are Stata datasets platform-dependent?

From   William Buchanan <>
Subject   Re: st: Are Stata datasets platform-dependent?
Date   Sat, 8 Oct 2011 10:30:15 -0700

Hi Rieza,

I have clients that send me data in all types of formats from all types of operating systems.  I also run Stata on MAC and Windows machines in my work.  That being said, I've never had any problem with transferring files across operating platforms.  Depending on the work that you do, and considering you're a SAS programmer, you could always consider picking up a copy of StatTransfer and not worry about any issues downloading files in other formats or having people send you data in different formats.  

- Billy

On Oct 8, 2011, at 9:57 AM, Rieza Soelaeman wrote:

> Dear Stata list,
> SAS programmer here new to Stata [waves at the crowd in the room].
> I'm thinking about getting Stata for my personal computer (a mac) so I
> can do analysis of Measure DHS data ( at
> home, and I was wondering whether it is true that Stata system files
> are platform dependent, as stated on the datasets description part of
> the DHS website (copied and pasted below, see *_*_*_* ).  DHS data are
> available as SAS, SPSS, Stata, and flat file format.  If the *_*_*_*
> part is true, would you then recommend using the flat file instead?
> Thanks,
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> System File Formats (SPSS, SAS, STATA)
> The System File is a binary file that can be read quickly by the
> relevant statistical package.  We provide system files for three
> popular statistical analysis software packages: SPSS (SAV), SAS (SD2),
> and STATA (DTA). Each system file contains all the data and
> descriptive information required to define and use the data, including
> variable names, variable labels, value labels, missing values, etc.
> System files are the preferred format for these data files,
> particularly if the file is large, and if repeated analysis will be
> run using the same data file.
> The main advantages of using the system file (rather than an ASCII
> data file in conjunction with a syntax file) include faster processing
> time, not having to modify the syntax file to refer to the correct
> path of the data file, and the ease of saving changes. The main
> disadvantage is that system files are platform dependent.  *_*_*_* For
> example, the system files that we provide probably cannot be used on a
> Macintosh computer *_*_*_*.  While these have not been tested, it is
> more likely that the ASCII data and syntax files can be accessed on
> different platforms, but will probably require some modification by
> the user.
> Software packages:       SPSS Version 13 (SAV files)
>                                     SAS Version 6 (SD2)
>                                     STATA SE Version 7 (DTA)
> *
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