Command language and syntax windows

Important: With version 17, a new syntax editor has been introduced, with a number of powerful features that tend to overwhelm the beginner. We recommend turning these features off (See ) to learn how to turn them off. The screenshots on this learning site have these options turned off. Please turn them of as well.

When you are using for instance to produce a frequency table and a bar chart, SPSS does two things behind the scene:

  1. It builds - from what you select - a Frequency , based on the selected variables and options.
  2. Submits the command to the SPSS to actually produce the frequency table.

Instead of using the menus, you can also use command language directly to achieve exactly the same.

Let us start this by showing that using menus and command language mix in fact quite well, and you can use the menus to learn command language!

Let us the menu to produce a frequency table, but instead of hitting the OK button to produce the frequency table to execute the command and dismiss the dialog, hit the Paste button instead.

SPSS will then paste the command syntax to a . As there was no open Syntax Window, SPSS created a new one containing the syntax for producing a frequency table.

To actually produce the frequency table you will have to select the text of the command (actually placing the cursor within the text is sufficient) and then hit the (Run) button.

Let us now learn more about the SPSS command language and Syntax windows: