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How to Open .sav files without spss

What is a .SAV / SPSS file

A .sav file is a data file usually used with IBM SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). It is often used by researchers, including organisations such as Pew Research.

While the file format is widely used, it is a proprietary binary format that can't by much software, for example spreadsheets such as Excel or Google Sheets can't open .sav files natively.

While you can open .sav files in IBM SPSS or an Open Source equivalent called GNU PSPP, both these tools have their disadvantages. The original IBM software was launched in 1968, is clunky to use and expensive. The Open Source PSPP may be free, but it also has a dated and clunky interface.

AddMaple can directly open .sav files and provide instant graphical analysis with intuitive filtering and pivoting.

How to open a .sav file without SPSS

If you don't have IBM SPSS, you have a few options to open .sav file without SPSS

  • Convert the file to a CSV and open in a spreadsheet - you can use our free converter to do this and then open the CSV in Excel, Google Sheets or Numbers.
  • Use the Open Source PSPP software - this requires you to download and install PSPP and navigate the clunky interface
  • Use R with the Haven package - this is great if you are familiar with R, but is still a fairly slow, text-based approach
  • Open directly with AddMaple - this is the quickest method and will give you the fastest results

For example, this is the Pew Research Core Trends Survey sav file opened in AddMaple:

Core Trends Survey SPSS in AddMaple

The dataset contains 1,502 responses with 90 questions per response - it was analysed and charts produced for each question in 2.33 seconds.

How to convert a .sav file to a CSV

A CSV file is a very basic file type, but it can be opened by many different software packages. A CSV file is less efficient than a .sav SPSS file - this means that the same data will result in a bigger CSV file.

We've built a free converter tool that you can use to convert a .sav file into a .csv file.

How to open a sav file in Excel or Google Sheets

To open a .sav file in Excel you need to first convert it to a .csv. You can use our free converter to do this in a few seconds. Once the data is converted to .csv you can open it in Excel or Google Sheets.

How can I get cross-tabs and pivots from my sav file

If you open your sav file in AddMaple or use our Online Pivot Table Tool you can quickly and intuitively create cross-tabs, segment your data and create beautiful pivot tables and graphs.

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Written by Ange

User Researcher and Founder of AddMaple

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