Stata Learning Module
Getting help using Stata

This module shows resources you can use to help you learn and use Stata.

Stata online help

When you know the name of the command you want to use (e.g., summarize), you can use the Stata help to get a quick summary of the command and its syntax. You can do this in two ways:
1. type help summarize in the command window, or
2. click Help, Stata Command, then type summarize.

Here is what help summarize looks like.

help summarize 
help summarize                                     dialog:  summarize
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Title

    [R] summarize -- Summary statistics


Syntax

        summarize [varlist] [if] [in] [weight] [, options]

    options           description
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Main
      detail          display additional statistics
      meanonly        suppress the display; only calculate the
                        mean; programmer's option
      format          use variable's display format
      separator(#)    draw separator line after every # variables;
                        default is separator(5)
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    varlist may contain time-series operators; see tsvarlist.
    by may be used with summarize; see by.
    aweights, fweights, and iweights are allowed.  However,
      iweights may not be used with the detail option; see weight.


Description

    summarize calculates and displays a variety of univariate
    summary statistics.  If no varlist is specified, summary
    statistics are calculated for all the variables in the dataset.

    Also see ci for calculating the standard error and confidence
    intervals of the mean.


Options

        +------+
    ----+ Main +---------------------------------------------------

    detail produces additional statistics including skewness,
        kurtosis, the four smallest and four largest values, and
        various percentiles.

    meanonly, which is allowed only when detail is not specified,
        suppresses the display of results and calculation of the
        variance.  Ado-file writers will find this useful for fast
        calls.

    format requests that the summary statistics be displayed using
        the display formats associated with the variables, rather
        than the default g display format; see format.

    separator(#) specifies how often to insert separation lines
        into the output.  The default is separator(5), meaning that
        a line is drawn after every 5 variables.  separator(10)
        would draw a line after every 10 variables.  separator(0)
        suppresses the separation line.


Examples

summarize
summarize mpg weight
summarize mpg weight if foreign
summarize mpg weight if foreign, detail


Also see

    Manual:  [R] summarize

    Online:  ameans, centile, cf, ci, codebook, compare, describe, 
             egen, inspect, lv, mean, pctile, stsum, svy: mean, 
             table, tabstat, tabulate summarize, xtsum

If you use the pull-down menu to get help for a command, it shows the same basic information but related commands and topics are hotlinks you can click.

When you want to search for a keyword, e.g. memory, you can use Stata to search for help topics that contain that keyword. You can do this in two ways:
1. Type search memory in the command window, or
2. Click Help, Search, then memory.

Here is what search memory looks like.

search memory 
 
GS      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Getting Started manual

[U]     Chapter 7  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Setting the size of memory
        (help memory)

[R]     compress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Compress data in memory
        (help compress)

[R]     describe . . . . . . .  Describe contents of data in memory or on disk
        (help describe)

[R]     discard  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Drop automatically loaded programs
        (help discard)

[R]     drop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eliminate variables or observations
        (help drop)

[R]     encode . . . . . . . . . . . Encode string into numeric and vice versa
        (help encode)

[R]     matsize  . . . . . . .  Set the maximum number of variables in a model
        (help matsize)

[R]     memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Memory size considerations
        (help memory)

[R]     query  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Display system parameters
        (help query)

[R]     save . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Save and use datasets
        (help save)

[R]     set  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Quick reference for system parameters
        (help set)

FAQ     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Using a dataset that won't fit into RAM
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A. Riley
        1/96    How can I use a dataset that is larger than the available RAM?
                http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/data/large.html

FAQ     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Memory allocation
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  C. Nguyen
        6/97    I'm not able to access all available free memory from
                Windows 3.1.
                http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/win/memory.html#nomem

FAQ     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Memory allocation
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  C. Nguyen
        6/97    How do I set the amount of memory allocated to Stata under
                Windows 3.1 and 95?
                http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/win/memory.html#win95prop

FAQ     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Miscellaneous Windows questions
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  C. Nguyen
        8/97    Why is Stata running very slowly?
                http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/win/misc.html#slow

FAQ     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Windows memory management
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A. Riley
        2/98    Why does Windows 95 seem to be swapping even though I
                haven't allocated all available memory to Stata?
                http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/win/vcache.html#swap

FAQ     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Macintosh memory allocation
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  C. Nguyen
        6/97    I have my memory doubled/tripled by Ram Doubler but Stata
                is not recognizing all of it.
                http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/mac/memory.html#ramdoubler

FAQ     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Macintosh memory allocation
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  C. Nguyen
        6/97    How do I increase memory allocated to Stata?
                http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/mac/memory.html#incmem

STB-40  ip20 . . . . . . . . . Checking for sufficient memory to add variables
        (help memchk if installed) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  P. Sasieni
        11/97   STB Reprints Vol 7, page 86
        beginning-of-program check on whether there is sufficient
        memory to create temporary variables 

As you can see, there are lots of help topics that refer to memory. Some of the topics give you a command, and then you can get help for that command. Notice that those topics start with GS [U] or [R]. Those are indicating which Stata manual you could find the command (GS=Getting Started, U=Users Guide, R=Reference Guide).

The next set of topics all start with FAQ because these are Frequently Asked Questions from the Stata web site. You can see the title of the FAQ and the address of the FAQ. Lastly, there is a topic that starts with STB which stands for Stata Technical Bulletin. These refer to add-on programs that you can install into Stata. There are dozens, if not hundreds of specialized and useful programs that you can get from the Stata Technical Bulletin.

You can access this same kind of help from the pull-down menus by clicking Help then Search then type memory. Note how the related commands, the FAQs, and the STB all have hotlinks you can click. For example, you can click on a FAQ and it will bring up that FAQ in your web browser. Or, you could click on an STB and it would walk you through the steps of installing that STB into your copy of Stata. As you can see, there are real advantages to using the pull-down menus for getting help because it is so easy to click on the related topics.

Stata sample data files

Stata has some very useful data files available to you for learning and practicing Stata. For example, you can type

sysuse auto

to use the auto data file that comes with Stata. You can type

sysuse dir

to see the entire list of data files that ship with Stata. You can type

help dta_contents

 to see all of the sample data files that you can easily access from within Stata.

Stata web pages

The Stata web page is a wonderful resource. You can visit the main page at http://www.stata.com .

The User Support page (click User Support from main page) has a great set of resources, including
The user support area contains:
- FAQs
- NetCourses
- StataList: How to subscribe
- StataList: Archives
- Statalist ado-file Archives
- Stata Bookstore
In the bookstore, you can find books on Stata. A good intro book on Stata is Statistics with Stata.

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