You may have heard that using SPSS syntax is more efficient, gives you more control, and ultimately saves you time and frustration. It’s all true.
….And yet you probably use SPSS because you don’t want to code. You like the menus.
I get it.
I like the menus, too, and I use them all the time.
But I use syntax just as often.
At some point, if you want to do serious data analysis, you have to start using syntax. Why?
One reason is there are simply some things you can do in syntax that aren’t in the menus. And when you hit one of them, you’ll get stuck if you’re not at all familiar with syntax.
Another is that with menus, it’s hard to keep track of what you’re doing. It’s easy to make errors and not even know it. Or not remember how you created that new variable. Or which options you chose when running an analysis.
The good news is that SPSS makes it extremely easy to get started learning and getting the benefits of using syntax without having to spend endless days in front of a manual.
The most important thing to understand is that every time you run through menus, SPSS is creating the syntax behind the scenes. Bring them to the front of the stage, start editing them, and you’ll start to get used to the way it all works.
It’s really the best of both worlds–you never have to memorize how to code every option. And yet you get all the reproducability, organizational, and efficiency benefits of coding.
So to help you get started with syntax in SPSS, we’ve put together a series of articles.
5 Reasons to use SPSS Syntax
The Joy of Pasting SPSS Syntax
How to Effortlessly Create SPSS Syntax and Automatically Add it to your Output
3 Pieces of SPSS Syntax to Keep Handy
A Great (and Free) Resource for SPSS Syntax: the Command Syntax Reference
Tricks for Using Word to Make Statistical Syntax Easier
Another Great SPSS book: SPSS Programming and Data Management
Recoding Variables in SPSS Menus and Syntax
Variable Formats in SPSS Syntax
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