SPSS Quick Reference

General Notes

This guide to SPSS will be split into four sections:

1. Inputting Data: This section is about putting data into SPSS

2. Selecting Data: This section involves selecting data using conditions and the like.

3. Processing Data: Combining data, making new data categories and renaming data.

4. Displaying Data: Graphs, tables, spreads and various data displays.


Inputting Data

One thing to watch for when inputting data is the format in which the data is stored. SPSS stores data in the following formats:

SPSS Nominal Icon– Nominal – this is a categorical variable.

SPSS Ordinal Icon– Ordinal – this is a variable that is a number, but a number for a category. For instance, red cars = 1, blue cars = 2.

SPSS Scale Icon – Scale – this is the equivalent of a numerical variable.

SPSS Scale Time Icon – Scale Time – this is basically a scale but a temporal scale, so a scale organized into a date and time. It is still a numerical variable.

When uploading data sometimes it will be not categorized properly, which can later cause problems creating graphs and such. Variables can be reassigned to different types in the variable view tab.


Selecting Data

Selecting specific case types:

1. Go to data at the top menu
2. Go to select cases
3. Click the ‘if condition is satisfied’ radio box.
4. Click the if button
5. Write in a specific condition, for instance income =< 20000 will give people with income’s less than 20,000 assuming income is a variable/column name.

When you go back to the data view the cases in which those that have not met the condition will be crossed out at the case number.

A new variable will also be added to the table typically called filter_$. This variable is a boolean with two values: 0 for False and 1 for True. If the condition has been met it will be a 1, else a 0.

6. Click Analyze on the top menu.
7. Choose whatever you are searching for as the output and it will output that data with those that missed the condition excluded.

Note: The if statement will remain in effect until it is reversed by going into the data section at the top menu.



Processing Data



Displaying Data

:: Graphs ::

Bar graph Example: !!!!Start here.


:: Tables ::


Outputting Data



Glossary of Terms

Variable: Basically the columns.

Case: Basically the rows.

Scale: Quantitative in SPSS

Data view – Data view is basically the typical excel-type view of the overall table, this is where you can input individual pieces of data.

Variable view – variable view is basically the column names, which are typically called variables in statistics. It allows you to change the label names, type, width, number of decimal places, potential values, etc.

You can save output by itself, but this can only be opened in SPSS. Tends to be better to just copy paste.


Common Issues