SPSS in English


According to Abbreviationfinder, SPSS stands for Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. Statistical software widely used in the social sciences and market research companies. Currently, the acronym is used both to designate the statistical program and the company that produces it. SPSS was originally created as the acronym for Statistical Package for the Social Sciences although it has also been referred to as “Statistical Product and Service Solutions”.

As a statistical program, its use is very popular due to the ability to work with large databases. In version 12 it is 2 million records and 250,000 variables. In addition, to allow the recoding of variables and registers according to the needs of the user. The program consists of a base module and annex modules that have been constantly updated with new statistical procedures. Each of these modules is purchased separately.

Currently, it competes not only with licensed software such as SAS, MATLAB, Statistica, Stata, but also with open source and free software, of which the most prominent is the R Language. It has recently developed a free package called PSPP, with an interface called PSPPire that has been compiled for various operating systems such as Linux, as well as versions for Windows and OS X. This last package tries to be an open source clone that emulates all the possibilities of SPSS.


It was created in 1968 by Norman H. Nie, C. Hadlai (Tex) Hull, and Dale H. Bent. Between 1969 and 1975 the University of Chicago through its National Opinion Research Center was in charge of the development, distribution and sale of the program. As of 1975 it corresponds to SPSS Inc.

Originally the program was created for large computers. In 1970 the first SPSS user manual was published by Nie and Hall. This manual popularizes the program among higher education institutions in the US In 1984 the first version for personal computers was released.

Since version 14, but more specifically since version 15, the possibility of making use of the SPSS object libraries from various programming languages ​​has been implemented. Although it has mainly been implemented for Python, there is also the possibility of working from Visual Basic, C ++ and other languages.

The 28 of June of 2009 it was announced that IBM, after months of seeing frustrated his attempt to buy Sun Microsystems acquires SPSS for 1,200 million dollars.

SPSS versions

SPSS Inc. develops a basic module of the SPSS statistical package, of which the following versions have appeared:

  • SPSS-X (for large UNIX- like servers)
  • SPSS / PC (1984, in DOS. First version for laptop)
  • SPSS / PC + (1986 (in DOS)
  • SPSS for Windows 6 (1992) / 6.1 for Macintosh
  • SPSS for Windows 7
  • SPSS for Windows 8
  • SPSS for Windows 9
  • SPSS for Windows 10 / for Macintosh 10 (2000)
  • SPSS for Windows 11 (2001) / for Mac OS X 11 (2002)
  • SPSS for Windows 5 (2002)
  • SPSS for Windows 12 (2003)
  • SPSS for Windows 13 (2004): It allows for the first time to work with multiple databases at the same time.
  • SPSS for Windows 14 (2005)
  • SPSS for Macintosh 13 (2006)
  • SPSS for Windows 15 (2006)
  • SPSS for Windows 16 (October 2007): In the list of SPSS users “SPSSX (r) Discussion [SPSSX-L @ LISTSERV. UGA. EDU]” several company officials previously announced the release of version 16 of this software. In it, a Java- based interface was incorporated that allows making some improvements in the ease of use of the system.
  • SPSS for Macintosh 16
  • SPSS for Linux 16
  • SPSS for Windows 17 (2008): It incorporates important contributions such as being multilanguage, being able to change the language in the options whenever we want. It also includes modifications to the syntax editor in such a way that it highlights keywords and commands, making suggestions as you type. In this sense, it is close to the IDE systems used in programming.
  • SPSS for Windows 18 (2009): Renamed from SPSS to PASW 18.
  • IBM SPSS Statistics 19.0 (2010)

SPSS modules

The SPSS module system, like those of other programs (similar to that of some programming languages), provides a whole series of additional capabilities to those existing in the base system. Some of the available modules are:

  • Regression Models
  • Advanced Models
    • Data reduction: It allows creating synthetic variables from collinear variables through Factor Analysis.
    • Classification: Allows you to group observations or variables (cluster analysis) using three different algorithms.
    • Non-parametric tests: It allows to carry out different specialized statistical tests on non-normal distributions.
  • Tables: Allows the user to give a special format to the data outputs for later use. There is a certain tendency within users and software developers to abandon the original TABLES system to make more extensive use of the so-called CUSTOM TABLES.
  • Trends
  • Categories: Allows multivariate analysis of variables normally categories. Metric variables can also be used as long as the proper recoding process is carried out on them.
  • Conjoint Analysis: Allows the analysis of data collected for this specific type of statistical tests.
  • Maps: Allows the geographic representation of the information contained in a file (discontinued for SPSS 16).
  • Exact Tests: allows statistical tests on small samples.
  • Analysis of Missing Values: Simple regression based on imputations on missing values.
  • Complex Samples: allows you to work for the creation of stratified samples, by conglomerates or other types of samples.
  • SamplePower (calculation of sample sizes)
  • Classification Trees: It allows to formulate classification and / or decision trees with which the formation of groups can be identified and the behavior of their members can be predicted.
  • Data Validation: Allows the user to make logical reviews of the information contained in a “.sav” file and obtain reports of the values ​​considered atypical. It is similar to using syntax or scripts to review files. In the same way that these mechanisms are subsequent to the digitization of the data.
  • SPSS Programmability Extension (SPSS 14 onwards). It allows the use of the Python programming language for better control of various processes within the program that until now were carried out mainly through scripts (with the SAX Basic language). There is also the possibility of using Microsoft’s.NET technologies to make use of the SPSS libraries. Although some users have questioned the need to include other languages, the company does not have this among its immediate objectives.

From the SPSS / PC there is an attached version called SPSS Student which is a complete program of the corresponding version but limited in its capacity in terms of the number of records and variables it can process. This version is for teaching purposes of the management of the program.