File Utilities: Converting, Reformatting and More

Converting File Formats

  • StatTransfer
    • Software can convert among over 20 data formats
    • Available in Lehman Library's DSSC on the 10 workstations with single 30" monitors and on the lower level of DSSC in Data Service.
  • Options within SAS, Stata and SPSS
    Although StatTransfer's versatility makes it the preferred way to convert files, when it is not available there are other options.
    • SPSS
      Can read SAS, Stata, Excel, dBase, and ASCII fixed format or delimited files
    • Stata
      Can read Excel, SAS export files and ASCII fixed format or delimited files
    • SAS
      Can read Excel, dBase and ASCII fixed format or delimited files

File Transfer Protocol

FTP is a utility for transferring files between a local host (your computer) and remote hosts (some other computer).

Frequently Used Data Reformatting Tools in Stata

As per the Guidelines for DSSC Support for Data, staff can help you get your data ready for use. This includes procedures like with merging, subsetting, joining, and recoding. Here are examples of techniques we use:

  • Stata: taking samples
    Use the sample command.
    • a 10% sample
      sample 10
    • sample of a subset
      by sex: sample 10
    • a number sample (for sample with 100 records)
      sample 100, count 
    • a contest winner   
      sample 1, count
    • sample based on record number (every 10th record)
      keep if mod(_n,10)==0
  • Stata: Strings into Numbers
    Use the destring command.
    • In codebook, check that valid values do not include alpha characters
    • To destring variable age_wed
      destring age_wed

    • The force option generates missing for alpha characters
  • Stata: add leading zeros to a number.
    • Convert number variable, say ID_N to a string variable called ID_S
    • gen str3 ID_Z = string(ID,"%03.0f")
    • values like 1 11 103 will become 001 011 103