Write Files in Stata Binary Format

Writes the data frame to file in the Stata binary format. Does not write array variables unless they can be drop-ed to a vector.

write.dta(dataframe, file, version = 7L,
          convert.dates = TRUE, tz = "GMT",
          convert.factors = c("labels", "string", "numeric", "codes"))
a data frame.
character string giving filename.
integer: Stata version: 6, 7, 8 and 10 are supported, and 9 is mapped to 8, 11 to 10.
Convert Date and POSIXt objects to Stata dates?
timezone for date conversion
how to handle factors

The major differences between file formats in Stata versions is that version 7.0 and later allow 32-character variable names (5 and 6 were restricted to 8-character name). The abbreviate function is used to trim long variables to the permitted length. A warning is given if this is needed and it is an error for the abbreviated names not to be unique.

The columns in the data frame become variables in the Stata data set. Missing values are handled correctly.

Unless deselected by argument convert.dates, Rdate and date-time objects (POSIXt classes) are converted into the Stata format. For date-time objects this may lose information -- Stata dates are in days since 1960-1-1. POSIXct objects can be written without conversion but will not be understood as dates by Stata; POSIXlt objects cannot be written without conversion.

There are four options for handling factors. The default is to use Stata value labels for the factor levels. With convert.factors="string", the factor levels are written as strings. With convert.factors="numeric" the numeric values of the levels are written, or NA if they cannot be coerced to numeric. Finally, convert.factors="codes" writes the underlying integer codes of the factors. This last used to be the only available method and is provided largely for backwards compatibility.

For Stata 8 or later use the default version=7 -- the only advantage of Stata 8 format is that it can represent multiple different missing value types, and Rdoesn't have them. Stata 10/11 allows longer format lists, but Rdoes not make use of them.

Note that the Stata formats are documented to use ASCII strings -- Rdoes not enforce this, but use of non-ASCII character strings will not be portable as the encoding is not recorded. Up to 244 bytes are allowed in character data, and longer strings will be truncated with a warning.

Stata uses some large numerical values to represent missing values. This function does not currently check, and hence integers greater than 2147483620 and doubles greater than 8.988e+307 may be misinterpreted by Stata.


  • NULL


Stata 6.0 Users Manual, Stata 7.0 Programming manual, Stata online help (version 8 and later, also http://www.stata.com/help.cgi?dta and http://www.stata.com/help.cgi?dta_113) describe the file formats.

See Also

read.dta, attributes, DateTimeClasses, abbreviate

  • write.dta
write.dta(swiss, swissfile <- tempfile())
Documentation reproduced from package foreign, version 0.8-47, License: GPL (>= 2)

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