Re: [R] read.spss (package foreign) and SPSS 15.0 files

From: Michael Conklin <>
Date: Fri 06 Apr 2007 - 03:23:50 GMT

Not being the developer I cannot answer definitively but, as a frequent user of SPSS files I can give you my experience.

  1. The unrecognized coding is perhaps due to the locale of the SPSS installation. I have had success reading in files from version 15 but often encounter that error when the file was created with data that included some foreign language. I often receive survey files that were administered in a non-English language and that is when I usually see the error.
  2. My experience with the "Warning - unrecognized record type" message is that it has no effect whatsoever on the data file.
  3. Others on the list have noted that you are safer exporting POR files instead of SAV files from SPSS. Both are read by the read.spss function.

Hope that helps.

Michael Conklin
Chief Methodologist - Advanced Analytics MarketTools, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of John Kane Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2007 7:45 PM
To: RINNER Heinrich; Subject: Re: [R] read.spss (package foreign) and SPSS 15.0 files

> Hello,
> does anyone have experience with reading SPSS
> Version 15.0 files into R (version 2.4.1, WinXP)?
> I have long been sucessfully reading SPSS files with
> read.spss from the wonderful foreign package, but
> somehow after upgrading from SPSS14 to SPSS15 I seem
> to have problems.
> Trying a simple example, where test.sav is a SPSS
> 15.0 data file consisting of x1=c(1,2,3) and
> x2=c("a","b","c"), I get this:
> > read.spss(file = "C:\\temp\\test.sav")
> Fehler in read.spss(file = "C:\\temp\\test.sav") :
> error reading system-file header
> Zusätzlich: Warning message:
> C:\temp\test.sav: File-indicated character
> representation code (Unknown) is not ASCII
> version infos:
> R version 2.4.1 (under WinXP)
> foreign version 0.8-18
> Has anyone experienced the same, and can give a
> solution here (possibly other than "downgrade to
> SPSS14.0" ;-))?
> Regards,
> Heinrich.

 Heck. I'd be happy to get an answer to what is happening here:
> mac <- spss.get("H:/ONTH/")
Warning message:
H:/ONTH/ Unrecognized record type 7, subtype 16 encountered in system file

I have taken to exporting the file to a delimited format and reading it into R since I cannot trust the R import. mailing list PLEASE do read the posting guide and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code. mailing list PLEASE do read the posting guide and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code. Received on Fri Apr 06 13:34:15 2007

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