pspp-convert - Man Page

convert SPSS data files to other formats


pspp-convert [options] input output
pspp-convert --help | -h
pspp-convert --version | -v


The pspp-convert program reads input, which may be an SPSS system file, an SPSS/PC+ system file, an SPSS portable file, or an encrypted SPSS syntax file, and writes it to output, performing format conversion as necessary.

The format of input is automatically detected, when possible. The character encoding of old SPSS system files cannot always be guessed correctly, and SPSS/PC+ system files do not include any indication of their encoding.  Use -e encoding to specify the encoding in this case.

By default, the intended format for output is inferred from its extension:


Comma-separated value.  Each value is formatted according to its variable's print format.  The first line in the file contains variable names.


SPSS system file.


SPSS portable file.


SPSS syntax file.  (Only encrypted syntax files may be converted to this format.)

Use -O extension to override the inferred format or to specify the format for unrecognized extensions.

pspp-convert can convert most input formats to most output formats.  Encrypted SPSS file formats are exceptions: if the input file is in an encrypted format, then the output file will be the same format (decrypted).  Options for the output format are ignored in this case.


General Options

-O format

Specifies the desired output format.  format must be one of the extensions listed above, e.g. -O csv requests comma-separated value output.

-c maxcases

By default, all cases are copied from input to output. Specifying this option to limit the number of cases written to output to maxcases.

-e charset

Overrides the encoding in which character strings in input are interpreted.  This option is necessary because old SPSS system files do not self-identify their encoding.

-k var...

Drops all variables except those listed as var, and reorders the remaining variables into the specified order.

-d var...

Drops each var listed from the output.

CSV Output Options

These options affect only output to .csv and .txt files.


By default, pspp-convert writes variables' values to the output. With this option, pspp-convert writes value labels.


By default, pspp-convert writes the variable names as the first line of output.  With this option, pspp-convert omits this line.


By default, pspp-convert writes user-missing values as their regular values.  With this option, pspp-convert recodes them to system-missing values (which are written as a single space).


By default, pspp-convert writes numeric variables as plain numbers.  This option makes pspp-convert honor variables' print formats.


This option sets the character used as a decimal point in output.  The default is a period (.).


This option sets the character used to separate fields in output.  The default is a comma (,), unless the decimal point is a comma, in which case a semicolon (;) is used.


The option sets the character used to quote fields that contain the delimiter.  The default is a double quote (").

Password Options

When the input file is encrypted, pspp-convert needs to obtain a password to decrypt it.  To do so, the user may specify the password with -p (or --password), or the name of a file containing a list of possible passwords with --password-list, or an alphabet of possible passwords to try along with a maximum length with -a (or --password-alphabet) and -l (or --password-length).  If none of these options is used, pspp-convert prompts for the password.  The password options are:

-p password

Specifies the password to use to decrypt the input file.

On multiuser systems, this option may not be safe because other users may be able to see the password in process listings.

-a alphabet -l max-length
--password-alphabet=alphabet --password-length=max-length

These options are an alternative to -p or --password. They direct pspp-convert to search for the correct password from the set of all passwords of symbols from alphabet (which may contain character ranges specified with -) and no more than max-length symbols long.  For example, -a a-z -l 5 checks all possible lowercase alphabetic passwords no more than 5 characters long.

When these options are used, -p may additionally specify a starting point for the search.


Specifies a file to read containing a list of passwords to try, one per line.  If file is -, reads from stdin.

Other Options


Prints a usage message on stdout and exits.


Prints version information on stdout and exits.


Ben Pfaff.

See Also

pspp-output(1), pspp(1), psppire(1).

Referenced By

pspp(1), psppire(1), pspp-output(1).

October 2013 PSPP Manual