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st: Removing space from string variable

From   Mike Kim <>
Subject   st: Removing space from string variable
Date   Thu, 12 Apr 2012 17:08:55 -0500

Hi all,

I have a question about removing leading and trailing spaces.

I imported excel file:
import excel using “myfile.xlsx”, first clear

Some observations of the variable “brand” have leading or trailing
spaces. Stata reads some spaces as spaces. In this case I can remove
spaces using:
replace brand=trim(brand)

The problem is that Stata reads some spaces as “?”. In this case, trim
does not work. More strange thing is that on screen of data editor,
Stata shows “?” like the following, but if I double click, neither a
space or “?” is not there. Stata still recognize the two as different


How can I remove “?” and make them as the same observations?

Thank you.

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