SDA 3.4 Documentation for INTERFACE


interface - Modifying the SDA user interface


The user interface for SDA procedures can be changed to practically any language, by modifying some or all of the default English character strings with alternate wording.

This document describes how to generate a copy of the files with language strings, how to modify them, and where to put the modified files. It also describes the use of non-English content in DDL files and in HARC files.

This document includes the following topics:


There are three separate language files that can be modified. Once you have a copy of the language files, you can proceed to modify them.


All of the language files have the same format. There is a keyword, then an equal sign, then the string used by the SDA programs.

Here are a few such strings used for the output from analysis programs:

ROWVAR = Row COLVAR = Column WGT = Weight FLT = Filter

Here are those same strings converted to Portuguese:

ROWVAR = Var. de linha
COLVAR = Var. de coluna
WGT = Peso
FLT = Var. de Seleção
The first three strings are simple to enter. The fourth one, however, includes characters that are not included in the set of simple ’US-ASCII’ characters. Notice that the Portuguese words in the ‘FLT’ string include a ‘c’ with the cedilla and an ‘a’ with a tilde over it. If you can enter those characters directly into the language file, using your editor or word processing program, that will work fine. If you cannot enter those characters directly, it is possible to use special codes for HTML display.

Special codes for non-ASCII characters

If your keyboard or text editor makes it difficult to enter the characters you want, you can enter special codes for each non- ASCII character. For example, if you wanted the text describing a filter variable to be ’Var. del Seleção’, you could enter that text directly as:
FLT = Var. de Seleção
But if you had difficulty entering all those characters, you could enter the following text with special codes:
FLT = Var. de Seleção
The special codes all have the following format: See the referenced Table of Character Entities for a list of the available codes.

Potential problems with the special codes

The special codes will work fine for displaying HTML with a browser. If, however, you want to create a codebook in Microsoft Word format so that you can print it out, you should enter the non-ASCII characters directly from the keyboard or by copying them from another file. Do not use the special codes (with ’&’) in the language file for XCODEBK or in the DDL file. Otherwise, the special codes themselves will print out -- not the characters they are supposed to represent.


The location of the language files depends on the program for which it is designed.

The language files used by SDA analysis programs (generated by the ‘tables -t’ or the ‘hsda -t’ command) must be put into a specific place, and they must be given specific names.

The language file used by the XCODEBK program (generated by the ‘xcodebk -t’ command and then modified) can be located anywhere and can be named anything you want.


The variable label, the category labels, and the question text of each variable in a dataset are given in the DDL file.

You can enter non-English text directly into the DDL file as described above for modifying the language files.

If you cannot enter non-ASCII characters directly, you can use the special codes as described above. However, be aware of the potential problems involved with using those special codes, if you want to generate codebooks in Microsoft Word format.

Note that if a DDL file is written with the ’UTF-8’ encoding, it may contain a "byte order mark" (BOM) at the beginning of the file. That BOM is ignored by the MAKESDA program.

NON-ENGLISH TEXT IN A HARC FILE (old SDA interface prior to version 3.0)

Text for the headers and footers to display on the option screens, and labels for the programs to select and for other actions to take are entered into the appropriate section of the HARC file

You can enter non-English text directly into the HARC file as described above for modifying the language files.

If you cannot enter non-ASCII characters directly, you can use the special codes as described above. Since the text in the HARC file is only used to display HTML content by a browser, the use of special codes in the HARC file will not cause any problems for creating or for printing out Word codebooks.


The default encoding of characters used by SDA is ’US-ASCII’. However, some documentation files that are converted into DDL files or codebooks may require another encoding to display properly. The character encoding can be specified using the ’CHARSET=’ keyword in the general section of a DDL file.

If the language requires a special font for display, you may have to specify that font using the ’CHARTFONT=’ keyword in the basic dataset section of the HARC file. Otherwise, the charts produced by the TABLES and MEANS programs may not display text correctly. If you run the TABLES or MEANS program in batch mode, there is a corresponding ’CH_FONT=’ keyword that can be specified in the chart options section of the TABLES batch file or the MEANS batch file. See the further discussion in the language document.


DDL Data Description Language
language Using non-English languages in SDA

CSM, UC Berkeley
January 25, 2010