[EpiData-list] reuse labels in several files

epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca
Fri Aug 17 16:43:29 CDT 2007

epidata-list-request at lists.umanitoba.ca wrote:
> Often, one uses questionnaires where the items and a value labels might
> be identical for dozens or more questions. It seems that EpiData creates
> a block in the .CHK file that applies to one variable only. Is there a
> way to apply the same checks and labels to several variables at the same
> time?
Technique 1: Common label definitions in EpiData.LBL.

When you start EpiData Entry there is a default label collection. If you 
often use the same labels then edit the file EpiData.lbl which you will 
find in the same folder as the EpiData Enter system (epidata.exe) 

Then for a given new file create the rec file and in the Enter system 
use "Add/revise" to add checks to the file.
a Go to the first of the variables which should have a given label
b. Choose from the list of your predefined labels contained in 
"Epidata.lbl" and read into the definition box.
c. Now switch back to the field in question (F6 goes from the definition 
box to the field and vice versa).
d. Press Ctrl+C
e. Move the cursor to each of the other fields and press Ctrl+V and the 
definition is copied. It takes very short time.

If you are thing instead of missing values etc. look in the help file:
Missing value has three syntaxes:
MISSINGVALUE x [y [z]] which can be used in fieldblocks, and
MISSINGVALUE ALL x [y [z]] which can be used in BEFORE FILE blocks, and
MISSINGVALUE field1-field5, field6 …. x [y [z]] which can be used in 

You see that in this case you can use syntax similar to Stata x-y . But 
for labels the trick above is the only possible.

Technique 2: automatic revise of a larger file for subsets:

The other technique to use is to create a common (large) file with all 
relevant questions, properly labelled. Then for a given substudy do:
1. create copies of the common large rec file and associated chk file
2. create copy of qes file
3. edit the qes file and delete sections not currently needed.
4. choose the rec file for entering data. Enter will "see" that the qes 
file has a more recent date and time and will suggest to adapt the 
structure to the qes file. Say yes to this and you will see that a 
number of no longer used variables will be removed including the chk for 

In terms of the analysis programme the issue is somewhat different, but 
I read the question as being relevant for entry.

Jens Lauritsen
EpiData Association

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