Most of the time, variables don’t retain their values between cases.
Instead, either they’re being read from a data file or the active dataset,
in which case they assume the value read, or, if created with
another transformation, they’re initialized to the system-missing value
or to blanks, depending on type.
However, sometimes it’s useful to have a variable that keeps its value
between cases. You can do this with
LEAVE (see LEAVE), or you can
use a scratch variable. Scratch variables are variables whose
names begin with an octothorpe (‘#’).
Scratch variables have the same properties as variables left with
LEAVE: they retain their values between cases, and for the first
case they are initialized to 0 or blanks. They have the additional
property that they are deleted before the execution of any procedure.
For this reason, scratch variables can’t be used for analysis. To use
a scratch variable in an analysis, use
COMPUTE (see COMPUTE)
to copy its value into an ordinary variable, then use that ordinary
variable in the analysis.