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How do I use setup files to import plain text (ASCII) data?

Many of our data collections that contain ASCII data files are accompanied by setup files that allow users to read the text files into statistical software packages. Since a visual interpretation of alphanumeric data files is inefficient, statistical software is needed to define, manipulate, extract, and analyze variables and cases within data files. SAMHDA currently provides setup files for SAS, SPSS, and Stata statistical software packages.

Utilizing Setup Files

ICPSR has prepared tutorials on how to analyze data using setup files:

You can find video tutorials addressing this topic on the ICPSR YouTube channel.

Troubleshooting Setup Files

Many statistical packages will not run a set-up file unless you reset the Windows default setting that hides file extensions.

Resetting File Extensions

In Windows 7 and Windows XP, file extensions are hidden by default; however, SAS, SPSS and Stata need to see the file extension to run setup files. ICPSR has created a short tutorial to show you how to reset the file extension option in Windows, so your setup files will run properly.

You can find video tutorials addressing this topic on the ICPSR YouTube channel.