Converting Data Files for SPSS

You can also see this video on our video portal at Converting a .dat file into a .sav file format for SPSS along with other helpful videos (and more as we grow the library).

Hopefully, this video will help you to be able to convert a .dat file to a .sav file for use in the IBM SPSS software. When does this apply? Often times, the professors in statistics courses in college provide students with the .dat file (data file) that contains the data that they want the students to use for the course (especially when it changes for each quarter or semester). In that case, the students need to know how to import/convert it so that it can be used in the SPSS software.

That is why I created this video, to help all you fellow students out with this task. And, in case anyone asks, I created it on my own time and not as any sort of work for hire… just because I am a nerd and like to be helpful 🙂

The following link is for Deborah’s consultation services, but she also coaches, and especially with her favored statistics! Feel free to find a time to chat with her about signing up for paid tutorial sessions one-on-one to help you get through your statistics course! Click around the site and you will see some awesome testimonials to her success, and more precisely, her students’ success as a result of her tutoring!

Have you been a bit lost in your business (or personal life)? Fortunately, Deborah is an I/O Psychology Expert and is here to help you figure out just that, the balance between the home and the work - work/life balance, that is!

So, go sign up for the no-obligation 15 min consultation to get the ball rolling today!

The Story Behind Luv 4 Statistics

Why does this site exist? Because there are hurting and lost people out there and we just couldn’t stand by and do nothing. Maybe this isn’t the ultimate answer, but we care and share what we can.

I know it can be tough, with the pressures of life that include work, family, and now graduate school. Taking a difficult statistics course can just throw you off-balance. However, the good news is that I am there for you! Help is ready and willing.

Why was Luv 4 Statistics Developed? To help the hurting and lost statistics learners (i.e. grad students). I (Deborah) met a fellow student who was struggling and was able to assist her in solving her SPSS software issue (back in 2014). That allowed me to see the pain that some feel, with issues that are solvable (and answers I already knew).

Update: I actually pulled down the discussion area. Think ROI. What I mean is that the amount of time to maintain it took more time than how much it was being used. However, I can be convinced otherwise. Have an opinion? Please feel free to share it in the comments, below, in this post 😉

Hello fellow students of the world,

We all have questions sometimes in life, right? Yes, even me. I don’t know everything! lol

So, I set up a rough discussion area where you may ask questions. My specialty is inferential statistics.

Please keep in mind that I do not have unlimited time. You know all the normal stuff with life, family, work, oh and writing that dissertation to complete my Ph.D. in I/O Psychology (which is really research-heavy, hence providing me opportunities to provide help in statistics).

Ok. Enough babble. Please feel free to click on the “Discussion” link in the top menu/links area. Just please understand there may be some time before an answer arrives and I can’t promise the world (hence, the “beta”).

Here to help you and thanks for your patience 😉


As you all probably already know, I love downloading sample data from Andy Field’s site. If you would like to get your own sample data, to play with in SPSS, follow these directions and screen shots:

  1. Go to the companion site for the book mentioned below, the companion book. The book may cost money, but the site is free. Here is the link.
  2. Now, click on “Datasets.”
  3. You will be presented with different types of datasets that are available. If you are downloading the datasets that go with Dr. Field’s book, then you would want to look at that first link.

And, don’t forget to grab his wonderful accompanying book, that helps you to use his data in SPSS. I know, it cost a couple bucks, but I personally love his book.

But, Wait! I’m Having Trouble Downloading!

Sometimes, our browsers like to help us and think it is helpful to open the file for us, after downloading. In many cases, especially if you are downloading data files that need to be converted to SPSS files, this is really problematic!.

Chrome Being “Too Helpful”

Here are the directions to disable that “helpfulness” in Chrome.

Chrome in Windows

  1. First, you need to open Chrome’s settings. Open Chrome and click on the three dots in the upper right corner.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and click on “Advanced Settings.”
  3. Scroll down to “Download” settings.
  4. Optional: The following step is helpful, but not generally the “main answer.” However, in some cases, people have claimed that they don’t have the option shown in the next step, so if that is the case, this option is sort of the “only option.” It is recommended because it will trigger Chrome to stop and ask you where you want to save the file. The objective here is to stop Chrome from opening the file, because that is where we run into trouble. With this optional step (without the next step, if it is unavailable to you), Chrome should at least stop and ask you where to put the file. Then, if Chrome still opens the file, or tries to open it, you can cancel (or try to cancel) that step and then go grab your file from the spot where you told Chrome to save it. Make sense? So, the following screenshot shows the checkbox that needs to be checked to tell Chrome to stop and ask that question.
  5. If you have this option available to you, you will want to click on the following button, to clear the settings that keep trying to open the file for you. Of course, that means all of your downloads are affected, but it will help you through this step, of downloading data files that you don’t want Chrome to open and the reason you don’t want Chrome to open it is because Chrome does not know that you want to open the file with SPSS and convert it to a native SPSS file (.sav).


Chrome in Mac

Hey Mac users. Please refer to the verbiage, above, under Windows. I was going to screenshot all the Mac steps, but you know what? They are literally exactly the same as Windows! The only step that is different, is accessing the Mac Chrome settings, shown here:

Okay – hopefully you are off and running. Enjoy!