What are setup files? How do I use them?

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. We currently provide for many of our data collections setup files for SAS, SPSS, and Stata statistical software packages, three of the more commonly used analytical software packages for the social sciences.

Utilizing Setup Files

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

  • ASCII Data File + SAS Setup Files: PDF PPT
  • ASCII Data File + SPSS Setup Files: PDF PPT
  • ASCII Data File + Stata Setup Files: PDF PPT

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. If you continue to have difficulty running a setup file, you can contact ICPSR User Support at netmail@icpsr.umich.edu.

Found a problem? Use our Report Problem form to let us know.