# 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. Research Analytics is located on the IU Bloomington campus at Woodburn Hall 200, and is open for consultation by appointment Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

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*Last modified on* 2014-06-25*.*

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