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Re: st: RE: Variable name length limit

From   Nick Cox <>
To   "" <>
Subject   Re: st: RE: Variable name length limit
Date   Wed, 19 Jun 2013 08:47:46 +0100

Let's revise this description to fill in gaps and correct misstatements.

1. James is using -diff-, a user-written program from SSC. (Please
remember to explain where user-written programs you refer to come
from. Other posts show that failing to explain this just wastes other
people's time, not a good thing to do when you want their help.)

2. From the code it appears that -diff- at various points may attempt
to create scalars (not variables) with temporary names longer than
Stata's limit, which Stata can't allow.

There is no sense in which Stata can break its own limits.

James alludes to discussions in September 2010 -- search -- but
the nub of the matter is that the limit on scalar and variable names
can't be disabled.

This is arguably a  bug, or limitation, in -diff-, but short of
rewriting the program before the author does  the only work-around for
James is to use shorter variable names, say by

clonevar copy1 = no_dynamic_boxes_fixedat_94

and feeding -copy1- and anything else problematic to -diff-..


On 19 June 2013 08:02, James Bernard <> wrote:

> I have a variable named "no_dynamic_boxes_fixedat_94". After running a
> t-test in -diff command (for Difference-in-Difference estimation)
> Stata creates a variable named "_no_dynamic_boxes_fixedat_94_ttest_mc"
> which has more than 32 characters....
> it then returns error

On Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 2:46 PM, Timothy Mak <> wrote:

>> Can you give an example?

James Bernard

>> I have been struggling with the limits that Stata has imposed on the
>> length of variable names. The fact is that Stata often takes a
>> variable name and while running some tests creates ancillary variables
>> that are named by combing my current variable names and new suffixes
>> by Stata. This makes the variable name exceed the 32-character limit.
>> Therefore, Stata stops and gives error.
>> I did a search and found a thread on this titled "disable 32 character
>> limit". However, what is written there hardly addresses what the title
>> indicates. Is there really any way to disable this bugging limit?
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