1.0 Demonstration and explanation
In this unit we will discuss some general issues regarding the use of SPSS.
Updating and checking the version
Keeping SPSS up-to-date is important for many reasons. When we say “up-to-date”, we don’t necessarily mean having the latest version of SPSS. Rather, SPSS issues patches for each version of the software to fix bugs and other problems, and you want to make sure that you have all of the patches. Before looking for patches, you will want to know what version of the software you have. To do this, you can run the command show version via syntax, or you can click on Help and then About and look for the release number. If you would like to see information on the current version of SPSS, please visit Software Purchasing and Updating and scroll down to the section on SPSS.
Determining which modules are licensed
To see which modules are licensed on the installation of SPSS that you are using, you can click on File -> Syntax -> New. In the syntax window, type
Highlight and run that line of code. In the output window, you will see which modules are licensed and when the license expires.
You can click on Help from any of the SPSS windows to see a list of the online help options for SPSS. Some of the options will take you to the SPSS website, while others will take you to help files contained within SPSS. To find out more about the syntax for SPSS commands, click on Help and then Command Syntax Reference.
Killing a job
Sometimes it is necessary to stop a procedure before it is completed. To do this, click on File and then Stop Processor.
Finding missing windows
Sometimes, a window “goes missing”. To “find” the “missing” window, click on Window at the top of the SPSS Data Editor, and then select the window that you want to see.
Accessing data sets that come with SPSS
SPSS comes with many data sets that you can use to practice procedures that are new to you. These files are located in slightly different places depending on which version of SPSS you are using. If you are using SPSS version 21 and installed it in the default directory, the files are in
You can manage the SPSS Output Management System (OMS) by clicking on Utilities and then OMS Control Panel.
SPSS is not case sensitive. In other words, you can type your commands, variable names, etc., in all capital letters, all lower case letters, or any combination of upper and lower case. In the SPSS syntax guide and in pasted syntax, SPSS commands and keywords are printed in capital letters so that it is clear which are SPSS commands and keywords, and which are variable names.
Getting user-written programs
You can download R and Python plug-ins to extend the capabilities of SPSS. Please see http://www-01.ibm.com/software/analytics/spss/products/statistics/programmability/features.html for more information.
How to get SPSS
If you are a UCLA faculty or staff member, the current version of SPSS can be purchased from Software Central . If you are a student, the current version of SPSS can be purchased from UCLA Computer Store.
A list of programs available from Software Central is available from http://www.softwarecentral.ucla.edu/product_list.htm.
If you are a student, you may purchase SPSS from the computer store on campus or online. You may want to shop around a little before making your purchase, as you may find that you can get more modules for only a few more dollars.
Using SPSS in a computer lab on campus
- Locations available to all students – The CLICC lab has SPSS available both on the PC and the Mac.
- Locations available to some students – Social Science Computing Labs (only for those in the Social Sciences) has SPSS available on the PC
- Other lists of locations CLICC maintains a list of labs on campus for more labs on campus that may have SPSS.
Using SPSS via Software Shortcut
SPSS is available via Software Shortcut. This service allows UCLA students, faculty and staff access to many statistical packages such as SPSS remotely.