SPSS Output Viewer Window

SPSS’ Output Viewer window is the window that contains all output we generate. The most typical output items are tables and charts that describe patterns in our data. An Output Viewer window opens automatically when we generate output. It’s recognized by a purple icon  (or  for older SPSS versions).

SPSS Output Viewer Window

SPSS Output Viewer Window – Example

We recommend you follow along by downloading employees.sav. Next, open this data file, preferably as shown in Syntax Editor window. At this point, you’ll probably have two SPSS windows open: the Data Editor and Syntax Editor.* Now, add the linefrequencies job_satisfaction.to the end of the Syntax Editor window. You can run this command by selecting it and pressing the CTRL + r shortkey. On doing so, an SPSS Viewer window will open, containing the output of the FREQUENCIES command we just ran.

SPSS Output Viewer Window Anatomy

SPSS Output Viewer Window

First, note that the Output Viewer window has two sections: the left pane shows the output outlineand the right pane shows the actual output. The outline shows that the output items such as headings and tables are organized according to a tree structure.
Ouput items can be selected in both panes. For selecting multiple items, press shift or ctrlwhile clicking on the items. In the outline pane, all items under a branch can be selected at once by clicking the book icon SPSS Output Viewer - Select Items Icon of this branch.
All items under a branch can be hidden by clicking the minus icon SPSS Output Viewer - Hide Items Icon shown in the outline. For deleting items, select them and press the delete button on your keyboard.

SPSS Output Files

As we saw in previous tutorials, the contents of the Data Editor window can be saved as an SPSS data file (“.sav file”). Likewise, the contents of the Syntax Editor window can be saved as an SPSS syntax file (“.sps file”).
In a similar vein, all contents of the Output Viewer window can be saved as an SPSS Output file. Recent SPSS versions use “.spv” (SPSS Viewer) file extension. In older SPSS versions, “.spo” (SPSS Output) is used instead.

SPSS Output Files – Limitations

SPSS Ouput files are rarely used for reporting results. A major reason is that they can’t be opened by recipients who don’t have SPSS installed on their computers.*
Also, reports tend to contain quite some explanatory text. Technically, you can insert text, headings and even images (such as a client logo) into an output file. For doing so, navigate to Insert SPSS Menu Arrow New text as shown in the screenshot.

SPSS Viewer Window - Insert Text or Other Elements

However, we find this rather cumbersome and there’s no way to create a decent layout for the content.

Reporting on SPSS Output

As we just suggested, you probably don’t want to report on SPSS Ouput by saving and sharing your Output file(s). So what are the alternatives?
Many people write their reports in a word processor such as Microsoft Word. In this case you’ll probably want to simply copy and paste output items from SPSS’ Output Viewer window into your report. In most cases, using the ctrl + c and ctrl + v shortkey should do the job.
If the result is not as desired, you may try right clicking the output item you want to copy, select Copy Special and try Rich Text for tables or Image for charts. This is shown in the screenshot below.

SPSS - Copy Paste Output Items

A second option, found under File SPSS Menu Arrow Export is Export Output. An advantage of this is that it works by means of syntax which you can paste and save. If you need to correct and rerun your syntax at some point, the corrected output will be exported automatically as well.

Final Notes

At this point we’ve taken a look at all SPSS’ main windows. First, the Data Editor window is where we inspect the two main component of “data”: the data values and their dictionary information. Second, the Syntax Editor window is the window from which we run commands for opening, editing, analyzing and saving data. Third, SPSS Output Viewer window is where the output goes.

The next tutorial explores how SPSS’ three main windows work together and proposes a structure for keeping your project files efficiently organized.