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Re: st: combining tables

From   "Roger B. Newson" <>
Subject   Re: st: combining tables
Date   Wed, 31 Oct 2012 11:36:27 +0000

I haven't used TPL even via SAS, having weaned myself off SAS about a decade ago by writing a suite (or dialect) of Stata commands to do everything I used to do with SAS. However, this dialect now includes a language for the mass-production of tables in a Rich Text Format (RTF) document. (And linked graphs, too, in the same document.) The package to do this is -rtfutil-, which you can download from SSC, together with the -listtab- package and a suite of other packages. Users can also use these packages to produce tables in HTML, TeX and LaTeX, and probably will also to be able to use it with XML-based block-structured dialects yet to be invented.

My feedback so far is that (as Daniel says about TPL) this dialect is difficult for most people to learn in a hurry. However, a recent reference on using my packages to produce TeX and RTF documents is Newson (2012).

I hope this helps.

Best wishes



Newson RB. From resultssets to resultstables in Stata. The Stata Journal 2012; 12(2): 191–213. Purchase from

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
Web page:
Departmental Web page:

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

On 30/10/2012 23:49, Daniel Feenberg wrote:

On Tue, 30 Oct 2012, Nick Cox wrote:

The short answer seems to me to be that most of the activity over the
last decade has come from users.

I think many Stata users would agree that we need "Better tables", but
once you start to talk about details, disagreement about what that
means becomes more prominent.

Surely the fact that SAS humbled itself to adopt the syntax and
semantics of the Table Production Language is a strong indication that
TPL is appropriate way to implement tables in a statistical package.
Other packages are difficult and won't create the tables that are
typically seen in publications. TPL can produce those tables. TPL may be
difficult, but that only because the SAS documentation emphasizes fancy
formatting issues to the near exclusion of explanatory material on the
basic issue of what numbers are being calculated. If Bill Gould wrote 10
pages of explanation, it would be easy for users to create what they
need. To create publication ready photo-perfect pages would take a lot
more explanation, of course.

dan feenberg

(I'm oddly reminded of Quine's quirky quip about the ontological
problem, for which see (e.g.)


I want to admit that I don't understand anything much after the first
paragraph, but the first paragraph is what applies here.)

It appears to be an argument against the legitimacy of the concept of
zero. I think most Stata users would be hard to convince.

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