RECODE command is used to transform existing values into other,
user specified values.
The general form is:
RECODE src_vars (src_value src_value ... = dest_value) (src_value src_value ... = dest_value) (src_value src_value ... = dest_value) ... [INTO dest_vars].
RECODE keyword itself comes src_vars which is a list
of variables whose values are to be transformed.
These variables may be string variables or they may be numeric.
However the list must be homogeneous; you may not mix string variables and
numeric variables in the same recoding.
After the list of source variables, there should be one or more mappings. Each mapping is enclosed in parentheses, and contains the source values and a destination value separated by a single ‘=’. The source values are used to specify the values in the dataset which need to change, and the destination value specifies the new value to which they should be changed. Each src_value may take one of the following forms:
After the source variables comes an ‘=’ and then the dest_value. The dest_value may take any of the following forms:
Mappings are considered from left to right. Therefore, if a value is matched by a src_value from more than one mapping, the first (leftmost) mapping which matches will be considered. Any subsequent matches will be ignored.
The clause ‘INTO dest_vars’ is optional. The behaviour of the command is slightly different depending on whether it appears or not.
If ‘INTO dest_vars’ does not appear, then values will be recoded “in place”. This means that the recoded values are written back to the source variables from whence the original values came. In this case, the dest_value for every mapping must imply a value which has the same type as the src_value. For example, if the source value is a string value, it is not permissible for dest_value to be ‘SYSMIS’ or another forms which implies a numeric result. It is also not permissible for dest_value to be longer than the width of the source variable.
The following example two numeric variables x and y are recoded in place. Zero is recoded to 99, the values 1 to 10 inclusive are unchanged, values 1000 and higher are recoded to the system-missing value and all other values are changed to 999:
recode x y (0 = 99) (1 THRU 10 = COPY) (1000 THRU HIGHEST = SYSMIS) (ELSE = 999).
If ‘INTO dest_vars’ is given, then recoded values are written
into the variables specified in dest_vars, which must therefore
contain a list of valid variable names.
The number of variables in dest_vars must be the same as the number
of variables in src_vars
and the respective order of the variables in dest_vars corresponds to
the order of src_vars.
That is to say, recoded values whose
original value came from the nth variable in src_vars will be
placed into the nth variable in dest_vars.
The source variables will be unchanged.
If any mapping implies a string as its destination value, then the respective
destination variable must already exist, or
have been declared using
STRING or another transformation.
Numeric variables however will be automatically created if they don't already
The following example deals with two source variables, a and b
which contain string values. Hence there are two destination variables
v1 and v2.
Any cases where a or b contain the values ‘apple’,
‘pear’ or ‘pomegranate’ will result in v1 or v2 being
filled with the string ‘fruit’ whilst cases with
‘tomato’, ‘lettuce’ or ‘carrot’ will result in ‘vegetable’.
Any other values will produce the result ‘unknown’:
string v1 (a20). string v2 (a20). recode a b ("apple" "pear" "pomegranate" = "fruit") ("tomato" "lettuce" "carrot" = "vegetable") (ELSE = "unknown") into v1 v2.
There is one very special mapping, not mentioned above. If the source variable is a string variable then a mapping may be specified as ‘(CONVERT)’. This mapping, if it appears must be the last mapping given and the ‘INTO dest_vars’ clause must also be given and must not refer to a string variable. ‘CONVERT’ causes a number specified as a string to be converted to a numeric value. For example it will convert the string ‘"3"’ into the numeric value 3 (note that it will not convert ‘three’ into 3). If the string cannot be parsed as a number, then the system-missing value is assigned instead. In the following example, cases where the value of x (a string variable) is the empty string, are recoded to 999 and all others are converted to the numeric equivalent of the input value. The results are placed into the numeric variable y:
recode x ("" = 999) (convert) into y.
It is possible to specify multiple recodings on a single command. Introduce additional recodings with a slash (‘/’) to separate them from the previous recodings:
recode a (2 = 22) (else = 99) /b (1 = 3) into z .
Here we have two recodings. The first affects the source variable a and recodes in-place the value 2 into 22 and all other values to 99. The second recoding copies the values of b into the variable z, changing any instances of 1 into 3.