# Generate a new variable in SPSS

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, contact Research Analytics.

*This is document* afsh *in the Knowledge Base.*

*Last modified on* 2019-01-31 15:31:49*.*

## Contact us

For help or to comment, email the
UITS Support Center.