NB!: Given that Python is now the language supported by SPSS, I would recommend you spend your time and energy on that language rather than on Sax Basic!

Also if you are professional in Visual Basic and want to write an external application which uses SPSS Statistics facilities, consider using SPSS Microsoft .NET Intergation Plug-in, which is also available among SPSS Programmability options.


The bad news is that there is very little specific SPSS Sax Basic Scripting information available for those who want to learn scripting. There is no "Sax Scripting for Dummies" to paraphrase the popular book series.

The good news is that Sax Basic is compatible with Visual Basic and there are hundreds of books on VB, including many introductory level books. I have purchased and do recommend Microsoft Excel 2000 Power Programming with VBA written by John Walkenbach and published by Hungry Minds, Inc. John's Excel Web site The Spreadsheet Page is probably the best one.



There is a Scripting Facility…Scripting in Basic help topic within SPSS Help (as of IBM SPSS Statistics 22.0), which guides you to see for online help from Basic Editor which is opened under File…New…Script menu (in case your default scripting language is WinWrap Basic, not Python).

SPSS® 11.0 Developer's Guide

There is a pretty old document SPSS® 11.0 Developer's Guide available here, written around using Sax Basic (later WinWrap Basic) scripts for making user data-processing applications inside and outside SPSS. Here is the list of chapters:

  • Overview
  • Programmer's Introduction to SPSS for Windows
  • OLE Automation Quickstart
  • Scripting Quickstart
  • Additional Examples
  • Appendix A. SPSS Input/Output DLL
  • Appendix B. SPSS Third-Party API for SPSS for Windows
  • Appendix C. Coding Conventions

Programming Using SPSS Scripts

There was also recommendable SPSS Training's spiral bounded book: Programming Using SPSS Scripts. It used to be a 133 page book at cost of $99 US. I hardly believe someone could find it nowadays, but prefer to keep it mentioned here. Raynald recommended it to persons with little or no VB experience. A diskette comes with the book. Here are the titles of the Chapters:

  • Chap 1 Opening, running and modifying a script
  • Chap 2 The interactive debugging facility
  • Chap 3 The SPSS object model
  • Chap 4 Using dialog boxes with scripts. Part 1, creating and filling dialog boxes
  • Chap 5 Using dialog boxes with scripts/ Part 2, running options defined in a dialog boxes
  • Chap 6 SPSS output object model
  • Chap 7 Manipulating SPSS output with scripts
  • Chap 8 Autoscripting
  • Chap 9 Useful scripting features in SPSS
  • Appendix: Additional scripts

General Visual Basic Online Sources

Look for online VB and VBA code archives and tutorials. Google for Visual Basic for Applications Tutorial for many resources on learning Basic. This one is of many possible ways to learn.

Sax (WinWrap) Basic Project

Also consider to visit WinWrap Basic site which could be potentially helpful in learning this language.

Raynald's SPSS Tools 

Of course, in Scripts section you'll find dozens of SPSS Scripts samples to play with!