Defining Variables

Variable names and labels. The complete database field (column) name is used as the variable label. Unless you modify the variable name, the Database Wizard assigns variable names to each column from the database in one of two ways:

  • If the name of the database field forms a valid, unique variable name, the name is used as the variable name.
  • If the name of the database field does not form a valid, unique variable name, a new, unique name is automatically generated. For information on variable naming rules, see Variable Names.

Click any cell to edit the variable name.

Converting strings to numeric values. Select the Recode to Numeric box for a string variable if you want to automatically convert it to a numeric variable. String values are converted to consecutive integer values based on alphabetical order of the original values. The original values are retained as value labels for the new variables.

Width for variable-width string fields. This option controls the width of variable-width string values. By default, the width is 255 bytes, and only the first 255 bytes (typically 255 characters in single-byte languages) will be read. The width can be up to 32,767 bytes. Although you probably don't want to truncate string values, you also don't want to specify an unnecessarily large value, which will cause processing to be inefficient.

Minimize string widths based on observed values. Automatically set the width of each string variable to the longest observed value.