SPSS Statistics is a software package used for statistical analysis. Long produced by SPSS Inc., it was acquired by IBM in 2009. The current versions (2015) are officially named IBM SPSS Statistics. Companion products in the same family are used for survey authoring and deployment (IBM SPSS Data Collection), data mining (IBM SPSS Modeler), text analytics, and collaboration and deployment (batch and automated scoring services).
The software name originally stood for Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), reflecting the original market, although the software is now popular in other fields as well, including the health sciences and marketing.
I used to work in Market Research and would spend hours cleaning up labels from surveys I’d programmed in online tools. The below video shows how easy it can be if you understand regular expressions and a little programming.
Regular Expressions can have a steep learning curve however it is really worth it if you continually get data that you need to clean. You can also check out this post of mine showing how they can be used to automate your metrics.
While SPSS has many strengths, string manipulation is NOT one of them! Don’t get me wrong, you can manipulate strings however the syntax for doing so is very complex.
If you are still using an older version of SPSS, this macro shows how you can easily remove character(s) from a string both anywhere in the string or at a certain location. Newer versions have a Replace command which can be used to remove unwanted characters.
Video demonstrating SPSS macro to remove characters from strings
I don’t know who set up the default toolbars but they clearly don’t work much in the “real world”!
The vast majority of work I do in SPSS is writing syntax however, having a frequency button or a button that empty’s the output screen is a lifesaver! Unfortunately most people don’t take the time to customize their toolbars.
This shows how easy it is to add – delete buttons from the toolbars. While the video shows the process on version 13 of SPSS, the same process works on newer versions.
Video demonstrating how to Customize SPSS Toolbar buttons