StATS: Exporting SPSS graphs and tables. (created January 28, 2000)

Dear Professor Mean, I need to export the output from SPSS and use some of it in my word processing file. What is the best way to do this? -- Manic Marsha

Dear Manic,

You can export both graphs and tables from SPSS and use them in other programs, such as word processing and presentation software. You export a graph or table by right clicking to bring up a pop-up menu. You have several choices in how to save the file and how to import it into another software program. I have found that exporting graphs in windows metafile format (*.WMF) and pasting tables as PICTURE works well for me. But I encourage you to experiment with alternatives to see what best meets your needs.

I'll show you how to export into Microsoft Word, but the same principles apply for other word processing software, and for other applications like presentation software or even web page editors.

More details

If you want to export a graph, right click on the graph you want to export. Click the arrow button next to the EXPORT field to select CHARTS ONLY. Click on the arrow button next to the FILE TYPE field to select WINDOWS METAFILE (*.WMF).

The windows metafile format is usually a good choice, because you can change the size of your graph later and still keep your lines and fonts looking smooth. Other formats such as bitmap (*.BMP), jpeg (*.JPG), and gif (*.GIF) and tagged image file (TIF) will degrade into jagged lines if you rescale it later. You might try experimenting with cgm metafile (*.CGM) or encapsulated postscript (*.EPS) formats, since these formats also allow you to change the size of your graph easily. If you are creating web pages and you know that you won't be changing the size of your graphs, then the gif (*.GIF) format is a good choice. SPSS even offers you a Macintosh graphics standard (*.PICT).

If you want to export a table, right click on the table you want to export. Select COPY from the pop up menu. You may want to experiment with the EDIT | PASTE SPECIAL menu in your word processing program. If you paste as a PICTURE, you get an attractive table, but you lose the ability to make minor changes like rounding some of your numbers.

Exporting graphs

Once you create a graph in SPSS, you can export it to a floppy disk or your hard drive. After you have exported your graph, you can use it in other applications like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint.

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To export a graph, right click over one of the graphs you want to export. This will bring up a menu, as shown in the figure above. Click on the EXPORT menu item.

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The figure above shows the dialog box that you get. Click the arrow button next to the EXPORT field to select CHARTS ONLY. Click on the arrow button next to the FILE TYPE field to select WINDOWS METAFILE (*.WMF). The windows metafile format is usually a good choice, because you can change the size of your graph later and still keep your lines and fonts looking smooth. Other formats such as bitmap (*.BMP), jpeg (*.JPG), and gif (*.GIF) and tagged image file (TIF) will degrade into jagged lines if you rescale it later. You might try experimenting with cgm metafile (*.CGM) or encapsulated postscript (*.EPS) formats, since these formats also allow you to change the size of your graph easily. If you are creating web pages and you know that you won't be changing the size of your graphs, then the gif (*.GIF) format is a good choice. SPSS even offers you a Macintosh graphics standard (*.PICT).

Click on the FILE PREFIX field to change the file name(s). Make sure that your file names include a drive letter and/or subdirectory that you will easily remember (c:\My Documents is a good choice). In this example, I am instructing SPSS to store the charts on the floppy disk drive (a:\) and telling SPSS to use BF_GR as a file prefix. This prefix tells SPSS to use the name BF_GR0 for the first chart. If you are exporting a second chart, SPSS will use the name BF_GR1 for this chart, and so forth.

Each software program has a different method for importing graph files. In Microsoft Word, you select INSERT | PICTURE | FROM FILE.

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Your dialog box should look like the figure above. Click on the arrow button by the LOOK IN field to select the appropriate file location. In this example, I am selecting a file from the floppy drive (a:\). When you highlight a graph file, Microsoft Word gives you a preview of what your graph looks like. Click on the INSERT button to place this graph in your word processing document.

wpeE.gif (8590 bytes)

If you click on the graph itself, Microsoft Word will place "handlebars" around the graph. You can grab one of these to make your graph bigger or smaller (as shown in the figure above). If you need to resize your graph, you should always grab from one of the corners. If you grab from the top, bottom, or either side, your text will become short and fat or tall and skinny.

Exporting tables

You have several choices for exporting tables. Start by right clicking on the table you want to save.

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You will then see a pop-up menu like the one shown in the figure above. Select COPY from this menu. This places your table on the windows clipboard. You can then paste inside any windows application. In Microsoft Word, you should experiment with the EDIT | PASTE SPECIAL menu pick.

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This is the dialog box you will see. You have three different ways to paste your SPSS table into Word.

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The PICTURE option will create a graphic image inside Microsoft Word (see above figure). This image looks nice, but it takes up a lot of room and you can't modify any of the numbers. I know you didn't have any plans to change all your p-values to 0.001, but there are changes like rounding that you can't make when you paste in a picture.

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If you paste UNFORMATTED TEXT, you get the raw numbers in your word file with tabs between each number (see figure above). You have to re-align your tabs to get the table looking nice. When you paste unformatted text, you do preserve the option of rounding.

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If you paste FORMATTED TEXT (RTF), you get a formatted table (see figure above). You will probably need to adjust the widths of some of the cells in this table, but like UNFORMATTED TEXT, you can make minor modifications like rounding.

This page was written by Steve Simon while working at Children's Mercy Hospital. Although I do not hold the copyright for this material, I am reproducing it here as a service, as it is no longer available on the Children's Mercy Hospital website. Need more information? I have a page with general help resources. You can also browse for pages similar to this one at Category: Data management or Category: SPSS software