When using SPSS, you’ll quickly find that there are few conventions unique to this software, especially when it comes to naming variables and recognizing your files after you’ve saved them. Here are a few things to keep in mind when using SPSS:

File name extension:
Data files are given a “.sav” extension while output files are given a “.spv” extension. If you open an output file to launch SPSS, it will open an empty data file with it.  You will need your data to continue working on your output file. Make sure you save both your data and your output files!

Variable names:
Variable names are limited to 8 characters. SPSS won’t allow you to use characters such as !,@,#,&, etc. You can use an underscore (_) but no spaces. Also, make sure when you name your variable it is recognizable. It will save you from being confused later.

Importing from Excel:
A neat feature on SPSS is that you can import data from an Excel spreadsheet onto SPSS. When doing so, make sure you search for the file with the “.xls” extension.

Output files:
You can copy the output you’ve generated from your data by simply clicking the table or chart, copying, and pasting it in another application.  You can also print a portion of your analysis from the output file by highlighting the specific portion of the file that you want to print.

Sorting variables:
Don’t forget that when you are performing an analysis, you can sort your variables alphabetically by variable name or label name by right clicking on the variables. This will save you a lot of time when searching for the variables you want!