Using SPSS and PASW/Changing Preferences to Include Syntax in Output

The previous chapter mentioned syntax and including it in your Log in the Output Window. Syntax is computer programming language and can be used to tell SPSS to run analyses and to manipulate data (see Chapter 24 for more information). Sometimes SPSS is set to include syntax in the Output Window by default; sometimes it is not. This chapter will show you how to change the Preferences in SPSS to include the syntax in the Log and Output Window. Doing so provides you with a history of everything you've done in each session with SPSS.

To begin with, you can see what a basic analysis looks like without syntax:


To tell SPSS to include syntax in your Output Window, go to “Edit” → “Options.”


Once you click options, this window will pop up. Click the viewer tab.


Select the “Viewer” tab, then check the box at the bottom left hand corner that says “Display commands in the log.”


Click “OK.”

To see the syntax in the output window you can now run any test and the Log will include the syntax. This is illustrated below with a Frequencies analysis:


You can now track everything you've done in SPSS and slowly teach yourself SPSS syntax. The utility of doing so is explained in detail in the chapter on syntax.

Chapter contributed by Christine Fernandez.

Last modified on 7 June 2010, at 18:40