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. For many of our data collections, we provide setup files for SAS, SPSS, and Stata statistical software packages, which are 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 

ASCII Data File + SPSS Setup Files 

ASCII Data File + Stata Setup Files 

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

Troubleshooting Setup Files

If you have difficulty running a setup file, please contact ICPSR User Support at ICPSR-help@umich.edu for assistance.