Q. I have some blank rows in my worksheet. Stat/Transfer stops reading the data as soon as it encounters a blank row. Is there any way to work around this?
A. The reason Stat/Transfer behaves that way is that sometimes users like to put comments or notes at the bottom of their data block. If they put at least one blank line between the data and the comments, then by default, Stat/Transfer will read their data and skip the comments with no special actions on their part.
However if you can change the behavior in one of two ways. In the Options dialog box, go to Worksheets and you can either set the Blank Rows option to control reading of blank lines, or you can explicitly set a data range by using the Data Range option In the latter case, Stat/Transfer will return all of the rows in the range you specify. In other words, it assumes that you know what you are doing and will return blank rows if that is what you want.
Q. When I read my Excel spreadsheet, sometimes a whole column of numbers gets transferred as a string variable, even though it contains lots of numbers.
A. Stat/Transfer examines all of the cells in a column to determine the type. If there are any strings, the column will be transferred into a string variable and the numbers and dates that are in the column will be converted to their string representation. This scheme is, in general, what people expect, particularly for columns of mixed numeric and string identifiers, where the alternative strategy would make the strings into missing values.
If you have a column that you want to force to numeric, you can check it to make sure that there are not any strings or numbers formatted with a "text" format. Alternatively, you can force a type conversion by using the controls on the Variables dialog box.
Q. How should I represent missing values in my worksheet?
A. In general, you should just leave missing cells blank. You can also represent numeric missing data with a period. Missing data for strings can be represented by an empty string (entered with a single quote). However, blanks work just as well as any of these alternatives.
If your worksheets already use a specific string to represent missing, you can tell Stat/Transfer to use that string as a missing value by setting the Numeric Missing Value string in Worksheet options.