Entering and Viewing Data Items on the Data View Tab

By Keith McCormick, Jesus Salcedo, Aaron Poh

After you’ve defined all the variables for each case you’re entering into SPSS Statistics, click the Data View tab of the Data Editor window so you can begin typing the data. At the top of the columns shown here, you can see some names chosen for variables.

The Data View tab, ready to accept new data.

The Data View tab, ready to accept new data.

Switching to the Data View tab makes the window ready to receive entered data — and to verify that what’s entered matches the specified format and type of the data.

Entering data into one of these cells is straightforward: You simply click the cell and start typing.

If something is already in a cell and you want to change it instead of just typing over it, look up toward the top of the window, just underneath the toolbar: You’ll see the name of the variable and the currently selected value. Click the value in the field at the top, and you can edit it right there. You can do all the normal mouse and keyboard stuff there, too — you can use the Backspace key to erase characters, or select the entire value and type right over it.

If you feel like a lousy (or inexperienced) mouse driver, take some time to experiment and figure out how to edit data. Lots of software use these same editing techniques, so becoming proficient now will pay you dividends later.

If your data is already in a file, you may be able to avoid typing it in again by reading that file directly into SPSS.

Don’t take chances. As soon as you type a few values, save your data to a file by choosing File→Save As. Then choose File→Save throughout the process of entering data, and you won’t be ruined if the computer crashes unexpectedly.

If you have to go back and refine your variable definitions from time to time, that’s normal. When you come across something that doesn’t do what you want it to, just switch back to the Variable View tab and correct it. Nobody but you and SPSS will ever know about it, and SPSS never talks.