Moving files from VAX SPSS to PC SPSS
Initially, SPSS reads a command file with a series of instructions, and
raw data files -- typically named anyfile.DAT --
consisting of long strings of numbers and letters, separated by carriage
returns. The program file anyfile.SPS, tells SPSS
how to interpret the raw data, dividing the records into fields of varying
lengths, and attatching some sort of label to each field. Optionally, the
program file can also tell it to recode the data, or weight it in various
The data from the raw data file, plus the labels and recoding
information from the program file, can be combined into a single file
which is more efficient and convenient for SPSS to manipulate. This is
sometimes called an SPSS save file (anyfile.SAV) or
an SPSS system file (anyfile.SYS). These system/save
files only work together with the SPSS version that created them.
Therefore, they cannot be moved from the PC to the VAX or from the VAX to
a Macintosh, or any other combination of machines.
However, SPSS also provides a way of saving the information in a
portable file (anyfile.POR), which can be transferred
between different types of computers.
This tutorial will give you a rough idea of how to transfer files from
the VAX SPSS to the PC SPSS, using the EDT editor, and a MicroSoft Windows
- On the VAX, use EDT to edit an SPSS command file
- Move down to near the end of the file (typically just above the first
FREQUENCIES line), and type the following two lines:
substituting a the filename of your choice for "anyfile". These lines will
create a new portable file named anyfile.POR when run thru
- Run SPSS, by typing:
This executes the commands in anyfile.SPS, (which includes
your EXPORT command), creates the portable file anyfile.POR
and a printable report named anyfile.LIS. All the files are
still on the VAX at this point.
- Log off of the VAX.
- Start FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to move files between the VAX
and the PC. If you are doing this from a machine that I set up, then you
will typically find the FTP icon in a Windows group named Internet.
Double-click on it.
- Near the top of the opening screen, there will be a site name in a
white box. Next to the box will be a downwards-pointing arrow, with a
line under it. This is the symbol for a "pull-down menu". Click
on the arrow. A list of sites should appear. Scroll up or down on the
list, looking for Gallaudet VAX/VMS. Highlight it with the mouse
and click on the OK button.
- Wait. It will take a few minutes to fill the box on that appears on
the right side of the screen. This is a list of your files on the VAX.
The box on the left will be a list of files in a directory (often
C:\TEMP) on the PC.
- Look for anyfile.POR on the right. Highlight it with
Just below the two windows containing the filenames, you will see
Choose the ASCII button.
- Between the two windows of filenames, you will see an arrow pointing
to the right and an arrow pointing to the left. Click on the arrow
pointing to the left. This will transfer the highlighted file, (in this
case the portable file anyfile.POR) using an ASCII transfer
method, from the VAX to the PC.
- Close and exit FTP using the buttons on the very bottom of the window.
- Start SPSS for Windows by double-clicking on it's icon.
- Select File, Open, and Data from the pull-down
menu at the top of the screen.
- Towards the right side of the window that opens up, there will be an
icon of an open folder labeled C:\. Double-click on it. The list
should change. Then move down to the folder labeled TEMP and
double-click on it.
- On the left side of the screen, look for a box labeled File
Type and use the pull-down menu (the down-arrow with the underline)
to list the various file types. Highlight SPSS Portable file
(*.POR) with the mouse.
- Near the upper left corner of the window, there should be a list of
filenames ending in .POR. Highlight the file you just
transferred, and click on the OK button. This will read the
portable file, which contains both the raw data, plus your labels and
recodes, and converts it to a format suited to the PC's SPSS for Windows.
- Save the file using the pull-down menu at the top of the screen.
(File, and Save as.)
- Choose a file type like SPSS System file (*.sav), and use the
folder icons on the right to choose a subdirectory in which to place the
saved data. Use the small, one-line box in the upper left to enter a new
filename (ending in .SAV) and click the OK button.
That's it. You're done. Next time you use SPSS for Windows, open the
SAV file that you just created. You can now delete the POR files from
both the VAX and the PC.