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Stat Transfer Supported File Formats

Read and write support for SAS and SPSS files is performed through a CircleSystems API library called StatTransfer. The supported formats include:

  • SAS version 7 through 9.4 (*.sas7bdat)

  • IBM SPSS (*.sav)

Character Encodings

Alteryx Designer reads SAS and SPSS files that are encoded with any character encoding. SAS and IBM SPSS  files are written in UTF-8, meaning the data is in UTF-8, which is Designer-compatible.

Value Labels

Both IBM SPSS and SAS files support value labels. Value labels are a table within the data that allows the data to hold a key. The value label indexes can be numeric or alphabetic. For example:

Value Label

Key Description


Under 18 years of age.


18 - 26 years of age.


Over 26 years of age.





In the Input Data tool, there is a user configuration option for expanding the value labels:

  • When Expand Value Labels is checked (Default), Designer replaces a '1' with 'Under 18 years of age.'

  • Left unchecked, Designer displays the key value only, '1.'

If a table of value labels is defined for a field, but there is data in the field that does not have a corresponding value label, the data value is used. For example, if labels were only defined for values 1 - 3, then 4 would be written out directly.

Missing Data

IBM SPSS and SAS files have a notion of "missing" data. In Designer, you get NULL values in the data. When you write, any NULL values are written as "missing" in the resulting SAS or IBM SPSS file.

Data Types

Designer supports all data types for writing to SAS and IBM SPSS  files, with the exception of blob and spatial fields. If blob and/or spatial fields are sent to the output tool for SAS or IBM SPSS, they will be ignored. Warning messages will be reported in the Results window if these types of fields are encountered.

When reading SAS/IBM SPSS  files, all data will be converted to one of the following data types:

When writing String data types, the written file may have the String size grow by a magnitude of 4 based on the string length defined in Designer.

  • Double (all numeric values will be supplied as a double).

  • V_WString (all strings are supplied as variable wide strings).

  • Date (YYYY-MM-DD)

  • Time (HH:MM:SS)

  • DateTime (YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS)


Designer reads and writes SPSS variable labels. These are represented in the Description field.