Table of Contents

Running the SPSS Manager
Mini Menus
Running SPSS in Line Mode



SPSS is an integrated system for data analysis. SPSS for Unix contains a Processor that reads and processes SPSS commands and a Manager that helps build commands and review output. The Manager includes a menu-based command generator, an online glossary, editing capabilities, and other features designed to familiarize you with the language. This document is designed as an introduction to running SPSS on Unix. It is not a tutorial on SPSS. To benefit from this document you should have an SPSS session running as described below.

SPSS consists of a base system and several options. Documentation for the base system consists of:


  • SPSS for Unix: Operations Guide
  • SPSS Base System User's Guide
  • SPSS Advanced Statistics User's Guide
  • SPSS Reference Guide

Each option comes with a corresponding manual:


  • SPSS Trends
  • SPSS Tables
  • SPSS Categories
  • SPSS Graphics

Some manuals are available in the Science Library, otherwise contact IST Service Desk

Running the SPSS Manager

To run the SPSS Manager, you must be working in a Unix X-Windows environment. To begin an SPSS Manager session:

  • Create an SPSS directory. At the Unix prompt type:
      server% mkdir spss
  • Change to this directory:
      server% cd spss
  • To copy a test SPSS file to this directory:
      server% cp /usr/local/SPSS*/Samples/English/demo.sav ./
  • To start up SPSS using the file you have copied:
      sserver% spss ~/spss/demo.sav &

This opens SPSS Manager Windows, including the Output window, where SPSS displays output during the session, and the Input window, where commands can be entered.

If you wished to start with a blank screen, you would type:

    server% spss &

You could then retrieve an SPSS file from within the manager using the mini-menus described below.

The Input window is active by default, as indicated by the status line. You can scroll the window, enter SPSS commands, open existing SPSS command files, edit these files, and save them. The output window handles similar functions for listing files. You can press Esc-s to switch windows and Esc- z to zoom a window to full screen. Pressing Esc-Esc will restore the window to its original size. To execute the SPSS commands, position the cursor at the top of the input window, and press Esc-0 followed by Enter.

The Manager has 10 mini-menus that can be accessed by pressing Esc followed by numbers 1-0. Among other functions, these menus let you open/close files, insert contents from existing files, search for text, and run SPSS commands. These menus are similar to the ones in SPSS/PC.

By default the Manager is in the edit mode, which lets you type SPSS commands in the Input window. You can switch to the menu mode by typing Esc-m and return to the edit mode by typing Esc-e. The menu mode lets you select commands from the menus and paste them into the Input window. This is time consuming but helpful if you are not familiar with SPSS; the edit mode is much more efficient otherwise.



To see a list of the key combinations available in the Manager, press Esc-r. To execute a function, simply press the key combination displayed on the screen for that function. The Manager will exit the help screen and execute the function. To view the syntax chart for a command, press Esc-x and type the name of the command whose chart you want to view. Once the chart is open you can scroll using the cursor keys. You can also use the key combinations displayed on the screen to scroll alphabetically through command names to see their syntax. You can press Esc-x to make another request.

If there is a statistical term in SPSS output that you do not understand, position the cursor to the term, press Esc-g to enter the term into a request field, and then press Enter to open the "glossary window" to see the term's definition. The glossary window functions similar to the "syntax chart" window. You can copy the glossary definition into the active window by pressing Esc-8.

Mini Menus


Mini menus are available at the bottom of the screen in the SPSS Manager by pressing Esc key followed by number keys 1-0. The following is a list of the mini menus:

Esc-1 Information - requests manager help, enters menu mode, opens variable and file lists, opens the glossary and syntax charts.
Esc-2 Windows - switches windows, changes window size, and zooms windows.
  Input Files - edits files or inserts contents into the active window from an existing file.
Esc-4 Lines - inserts/deletes lines. Also replaces the last line deleted.
Esc-5 Find & Replace
Esc-6 Go To - moves the cursor to a marked area, a specific output page, the last command line executed, or the last output generated.
Esc-7 Define Area - marks/unmarks lines, rectangles, or commands.
Esc-8 Area Actions - copies, moves, or deletes text. Also rounds numbers and copies glossary entries into the active window.
Esc-9 Output File - writes a marked area or contents of the active window to a file.
Esc-0 Run - runs commands starting at the cursor position or marked commands. Also determines if the cursor switches to the output window after a command is run. It also exits from SPSS.


Running SPSS in Line Mode


To begin an interactive session, type:

    server% spss -m -p

The -p option is used to display the output a screen at a time. To send output to terminal and a file, use the -t option. For example:

    server% spss -m -t value.lst

would copy the output to file "value.lst". You can also open a listing file any time during the session by typing at the SPSS prompt:

    SPSS> set listing test.  SPSS> data list ...

If an SPSS command will not fit in 80 columns, press <Enter> before column 80 and continue typing the command. You cannot break a line in the middle of a word or a quoted string. Help in the interactive mode can be accessed by typing:

    ? help_topic

Use the + and the - keys to navigate the Help system and press <Enter> to exit. You can cancel command execution by pressing Ctrl-c. This will return you to the SPSS> prompt. To end the interactive session, run the finish command.

SPSS lets you execute command files from the Unix prompt. For example:

    server% spss -m value.sps

will process the file and displays the output on the screen. To store the output in a file, type:

    server% spss -m value.sps > value.lst

To run the process in the background so you can execute other Unix commands, append an '&' to the previous command. Bugs

The GRAPH command does not work on our system. If you decide to try it anyway and it hangs up your terminal, press Ctrl-c.


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