Are SPSS files (.sav, .sps, .spv, .spo) compatible between/across different versions of SPSS?
Resolving The Problem
Statistics dataset (.sav) files are designed to be both backward and forward compatible; you should in theory have no trouble creating or working on a dataset in one version and then opening and working on it in a different version. Features that have been added to dataset functionality have been added in such a way as to leave the file still usable in versions lacking the functionality. For example: versions 12 and later permit the use of variable names with more than 8 characters. Since versions prior to 12 lacked that functionality, a truncated version of the variable name is stored in the file for use by earlier versions.
Statistics output files (.spo or .spv) are generally not backward compatible; output files of the same type ( i.e., .spo or .spv) created in a later version of Statistics cannot generally be opened in earlier versions. Further, beginning with version 16, output files are written in the .spv format. It is not possible to read .spo format files directly into Statistics version 16 and later.
The SPSS Statistics Legacy Viewer for Windows (essentially SPSS 15.0 Smartviewer with no licensing required), is no longer a supported SPSS product.
Statistics syntax files (.sps) themselves are simply text files and are fully compatible from version to version, but the commands in your syntax may under go changes from version to version. If a command has been changed/removed/ added you would need to alter the syntax to conform to such changes.
16 April 2020