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Use the Merge function to add cases

Task: Use the Merge function to add cases from 'ExampleData002' to ‘ExampleData001'.

Start off by importing the ExampleData001.sav into the Data Editor window of PASW / SPSS (from this point forward referred to as simply SPSS). You will also need ExampleData002.sav; so download and save it to your desktop or some other location (but do not open it; only open ExampleData001).

First, go to Data, Merge Files, Add Cases...

Now, you should see the following dialog box. Click on the "Browse..." button and find 'ExampleData002.sav' from where you downloaded and saved it earlier.

Then click on the "Open" button.

You should now have it listed as the file you want to merge with the (already open) ExampleData001.sav.

Now click the "Continue" button and you should then see the Add Cases dialog (shown below). Now click the "OK" button to complete the merge function. However, you may want to continue reading below.

There are a few things to discuss about this dialog. First, the current example is very clean and no "Unpaired Variables:" are present. If there were variables in either data set which were not present in the other data set, they would be listed in the "Unpaired Variables:" box to the left. Second, those unpaired variables would be identified by the legend just below that box. Each variable would be listed by its name, but would also have a symbol associated with it which would identify the data set it came from. The symbols, as seen in the legend, are an * for the active data set and a + for the incoming data set. The active data set is the one you opened first; while the incoming data set is the one you had to browse to find in the previous steps. As an example; look at the images below in which the active data set is ExampleData001 and the incoming data set is ex3reverse.sav. Both data sets have unique variables and do not share any variables in common.

These types of mis-matches can occur due to data sets having different names for the same variable. A frequent example of this is gender/sex. When this occurs, a variable is present in both data sets, but carries a different name in each; you can use the "Rename..." button to rename one of them so they match.


You can also use the 'Pair' button after selecting two variables at one time to combine differing names.


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Jon Starkweather, PhD


Richard Herrington, PhD


Last updated: 01/21/14 by Jon Starkweather.

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