Of the various software packages that can be used to perform statistical analyses, the most commonly used are SPSS, STATA, R and SAS.

The best way to preserve statistical data for the long term is to store both the data and the data documentation in an ASCII format. The Stattransfer software package (https://stattransfer.com) makes it possible to convert data from one software format to another. This software offers the option to convert SPSS files (.sav) and STATA files (.dta) to data and setup (.dat and .sps for SPSS; .dat and .DO for STATA).

Preferred formats 

  • SPSS (.dat/.sps)
  • STATA (.dat/.DO)
  • R

Non-preferred formats 

  • SPSS Portable (.por)
  • SPSS (.sav)
  • STATA (.dta)
  • SAS (.7dat; .sd2; .tpt)