[R] SPSS long variable names

joris meys jorismeys at gmail.com
Wed Oct 14 18:53:56 CEST 2009

You could read in the sps file in R with readLines() for example, and
then use the tools for regular expression and substring to find the
label statements. Then you can just use R to add the labels to it,
without having to pass through PSPP.

So you could actually just create an R script that takes both files as
input, and generates the output automatically. I's prefer to do it
that way than to use YAP (yet another program), while waiting for the
adaptation of read.spss...


On Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 5:48 PM, Orvalho Augusto <orvaquim at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi
> The .dat file is a tab delimited file with the long variables names on
> it. The .sps file has the instructions to read the .dat and place all
> the variable and value labels.
> The ideia of reading the dat directely is good but I need the labels
> placed. Yes I could read the dat file and parese myself the sps to get
> sps file but that it is a job that to try and by these mails I will
> have to do so.
> For now what I made a little script to generate the sav using pspp;
> Then I read the sav with read.spss. Then I call read.delim to read the
> long names on the dat file. It works but is not beautfull and uses
> more resources.
> The great thing would be to support long variables names on read.spss.
> Thanks guys for everything
> Caveman
> On Wed, Oct 14, 2009 at 4:52 PM, joris meys <jorismeys at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi Orvalho,
>> question : where do the .dat files come from and what do you have to
>> do with the SPSS syntax files. I guess the syntax file is to change
>> the .dat file into SPSS format. But you could take the shortcut and
>> read in the .dat file directly. If the SPSS syntax file is a text file
>> (which should be), you can construct your own function to read in all
>> specifications from the syntax file. the function regexp() can be a
>> great help for that.
>> If you have no clue how to do that, just send me an example, and I'll
>> take a look.
>> Cheers
>> Joris
>> On Sat, Oct 10, 2009 at 6:14 PM, Orvalho Augusto <orvaquim at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Hello guys I am new to this list and for R too.
>>> I am wondering if there is a patch for the SPSS reading code on the
>>> foreign package, in order to be able to read long variable names.
>>> Right now read.spss() just trunc the names to 8 characters.
>>> Or if someone could help me on other way:
>>> I have to process everyday a lot of SPSS Syntax Files and Dat files
>>> that come from one system that can only export data on through that
>>> way.
>>> I use PSPP to generate the spss data file (sav) that I read with R.
>>> >From R I can export to MySQL, DBF and STATA to satisfy the needs of
>>> different guys here.
>>> The problem is the limit of 8 characters long on variable names.
>>> Can someone help on that?
>>> Caveman
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