## In SPSS, how do I generate a new variable?

To create a new variable in SPSS, use the `compute` command. You can use this command in many ways:

• To create a variable called `total` equal to the sum of variables `v1`, `v2`, `v3`, and `v4`, the syntax is: compute total = v1+v2+v3+v4.
• You can use most basic mathematical expressions to combine variables into new variables with `compute` statements. Alternatively, you can also use SPSS functions with `compute` commands. For example, the following command also adds the values of `v1`, `v2`, `v3`, and `v4` to create a variable called `total`: compute total = sum(v1 to v4).

Note: The difference between the two procedures above is that in the first procedure, the case on `total` would be missing if any one of the four variables had missing values on a case; in the second procedure, the total would be computed while ignoring missing values on the four variables.

• You can use the `compute` command to create a copy of an existing variable that can be modified or recoded, while preserving the original values of the variable. For example, if you wish to create a copy of the variable `v1` called `v1a`, type: compute v1a = v1.
• You can also use the `compute` command to create a constant variable. For example, if you wish to create a constant variable called `v5` and the value for the constant is 1, type: compute v5 = 1.

For more on the `compute` command, refer to the SPSS Command Syntax Reference (PDF).

If you have questions about using statistical and mathematical software at Indiana University, email UITS Research Analytics (formerly known as the Stat/Math Center). Research Analytics is located on the IU Bloomington campus at Woodburn Hall 200, and is open for consultation by appointment Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. For more, visit Research Analytics on the web, or call 812-855-4724 (IUB) or 317-278-4740 (IUPUI).

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