To recode a variable


Run a frequency distribution on the original variable and check the range of the values and how many cases are treated as missing.


Decide how the variable should be recoded

Think logically and theoretically


Begin the recode


1. Go to Transform pull down menu

2. Select Recode Into different variable

3. Highlight variable of interest from variable list on left side of window

4. Click arrow button to move variable into box titled

            “Input Variable à Output Variable”

5. Decide what to call the new variable

6. Type new variable name in box titled “Output Variable Name”

7. Click “Old and New Values” button

8. Specify old value(s) to change and assign new value(s)

e.g. If you are recoding the Age variable in a GSS data set into three groups and are trying to make the first category, 18-35, click "Range" and type "18" through "35" under the "Old" panel. Under the "New" panel, type "1", since this group is your first category in the new recoded variable.

9. Click “Add” button

10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until finished

11. When finished changing values, click “All other values” from the

            Old Value side and click “System Missing” from the New Value side

13. Click “Add” button

14. Click “Continue” button

15. Click “Change” button

16. Click “OK” button


Assign labels to values of new variable


1. Decide what labels should represent which values

2. Go to Variable View

3. Scroll to new variable at the bottom of the list of variables (last row)

4. Go to the Value column

5. Click the gray box on the right-hand side of column

6. Create and add labels for each value on new variable

7. Click “OK” button


Run a frequency distribution on the new variable


Check that recode has been done correctly by comparing new frequency

distribution with original frequency distribution.