When learning SPSS, it is easy to miss some of the time-saving shortcuts that could make your life easier. One trick is using the copy and paste function in the program to save you having to write out identical information multiple times.
Let’s say you have conducted a survey where respondents were asked to choose a number between 1 and 5 to illustrate how much they are attracted to a series of pictures shown to them. The first thing you should have done with this information in SPSS is to create a numerical variable with the Values tab set to show 1=strongly dislike, 2=dislike, 3=quite like etc.
If you have shown your survey participants 20 pictures, you may think you need to list 20 variables in the variable view and write out these identical values for each one, but there is a quicker way around this.
First write out your first variable in the row number 1 of the Variable View. Then right click in the left-hand bar on ‘1’ and select ‘copy’. Next, left click on number 2 in the left-hand bar and hold and drag all the way down to ’20’. Now, right click anywhere within the selected rows and select paste.
You will now have 20 variables that each have the same values. The new variables will have default names such as VAR0002, so you will need to go through these and name them in a more meaningful way, as well as changing any other information in the variable fields to match your survey.
This is a great way to make data entry on surveys with a large number of similar questions quick and easy. Stay tuned for more tips from our SPSS training courses!
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