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Stata: Do-files and Log-files

As you begin to work with datasets, there are two record and save your
commands and actions in Stata.
Creating do-files
Do-files allow you to record all of your commands. There are a number
of benefits to using do-files. By using do-files to run your commands,
you have a copy of what you did, which allows you and other
researchers to replicate your analyses exactly. It also allows you to run
analyses without changing your original data file until you are ready to
save out a clean data set. Many researchers will keep a do-file
recording data management (addressing missing data, reverse-scoring
if necessary, etc) and may have separate do-files for analyses for the
final clean data set or subsets of the data. To create a do-file, you can
either go to “File”->“New Do File” or you can use this icon on the toolbar
in the Stata window.

You’re new do file should open in a separate window that looks like this:
One optional step that can be helpful in creating do-files is placing a
comment at the top of the file denoting which data you’re using and any
other notes you want. To separate notes and comments from
commands in do-files, begin the line with an asterisk. If it is a longer
note, you can set it apart by typing /* before your comment and */ after
the comment. For example, if I were using a data set called “relate”, I
might begin my data file like this:

The first command you will need is the use command to specify the file
you want Stata to use. If the file is not in the working directory that you
are currently in, just specify which directory you want to pull the file from.
Here are three examples of the use command, one from a data set in
the current working directly, one from the internet and one from a jump
drive in a different working directory. Notice that on the end of each
command, I add the option clear. This is to clear any data that Stata is
currently working with.
use relate.dta, clear
use http://www.stata-press.com/data/agis3/relate, clear
use "E:\relate.dta", clear
After I specify the data file, I enter the rest of the commands I want to
run. Within this file, Stata will assume that each line is a new command
unless you tell it otherwise. If you have a long command that you need
on separate lines, add /// at the end of each line. That tells Stata that
the next line is part of the same command. When I am ready to run the
analyses, I select the commands I would like to run (you don’t have to
select any text if you want to run them all) and click on the last icon on
the toolbar in the do-file window:

To save your do-file, you can either use the icon on the toolbar or use
the “File”->“Save As” menu while the do-file editor is active.
Creating log files
In addition to recording all of your commands in a do-file, you can also
have Stata create a copy of everything that is sent to the Results
window, with the exception of graphs. This is called a log file and can
be helpful for you to save all of your output. This will also retain your
commands, although it will not save them in the same way a do-file
does (they will be embedded in the output). To create a log file, go to
“File” -> “Log” -> “Begin.” This will bring up a dialogue box where you
will save your log file. The default in Stata is to save the file with the
extension .smcl. This will allow you to open the log file in Stata, but other
programs will not read this type of file. The other extension available is
.log. This file format will allow you to open your log file in other programs
and may be easier to manage than the .smcl files. To save it as a .log
file, just select the Stata Log option under the “File Format” menu in the
dialogue box.
Once you begin a log file, you can suspend it at any time and resume
later. You can do this by going to the “File” -> “Log” -> “Suspend” (or
“Resume”). You can also close your log using this menu.

You can also start, suspend, resume and close logs using the log
command. I will use this command to begin a log file, specify the name
and location of the file as well as the extension. If I were going to create
a log file called “creatinglogfiles” in a file on my desktop called “501”
(filepath: /Desktop/501), I would type:
log using "/Desktop/501/creatinglogfiles", text
I included text because I want the file to be a .log file, not an .smcl file.
If I wanted to overwrite a file that already existed, I would
add replace after text.

After the log file is open, typing log off will suspend the log file, log
on will resume the log file and log close will close your log file.