Publication quality tables in Stata:
a tutorial for the tabout program
tabout is a Stata program for producing publication quality tables. It is more than just a means of exporting Stata results into spreadsheets, word processors, web browsers or compilers like LATEX. tabout is actually a complete table building program. is tutorial is intended to present a complete overview of tabout, with numerous examples of syntax and the kind of tables produced. You might like to ick ahead and skim these examples before reading the more detailed exposition which follows.
is tutorial has been around for a number of years but the current version makes use of colour and shading (to make it more readable) and also presents the tabout code in large blocks. Previously some of the preparatory Stata code, such as recoding variables, was only shown at the beginning of a set of tables. is meant that a user who just wanted to try out one particular table might have found that their results did not match the examples in this tutorial. At the risk of tedious repetition for those dedicated enough to begin at the beginning, the tutorial is now organised so that each example of code is ‘self contained’. e reader can now run any one of the examples in isolation and be guaranteed that the results should match what they see in this tutorial. All of the examples have sub-headings, so that readers can see at a glance what the particular example is illustrating. Finally, all of the examples are available in Stata do les which are installed when tabout is installed from the SSC archives. e le examples_tab.do contains all the code for tab-delimited output (the default) and the le examples_tex.do contains the code for LATEX output. I say a user’s results should match the examples in this tutorial, but I should add a caveat. I oen get emails from tabout users who don’t get exactly the same presentation quality which they see in this tutorial. is is due to the fact that this tutorial uses LATEX and makes use of the LATEX facilities built in to tabout to optimise LATEX code. ese users are oen exporting their results to MS Excel or MS Word and do not appreciate that LATEXis a totally distinct universe and requires learning a ‘new system’ for managing Stata output. I discuss LATEX more fully in the following pages, but would stress here that tabout has many advantages for Stata users who are content to work in Excel or Word. In particular, it can automate many of the more tedious aspects of table production. Having dispensed with the housekeeping, it’s now time to explain what tabout actually does. In essence, tabout allows a novice Stata user to produce multiple panels of cross-tabulations, and to lay out the data in a number of diﬀerent ways. e output can be oneway or twoway tables of frequencies and/or percentages, as well as summary statistics (means medians etc). Standard errors and/or con dence intervals, based on Stata’s svy commands, can also be included. Furthermore, Current version 2.0.6. 26 November 2012; Tutorial version 26 January 2013
Tutorial for tabout version 2.0.6 – 26 January 2013
a number of statistics (chi2, Gamma, Cramer’s V, Kendall’s tau) can be placed at the bottom of each panel. Finally, formatting of cell contents is simple, and allows users to choose the number of decimal places, and to insert percentage symbols and currency symbols. Before looking more closely at some of the features available in tabout, it is worth outlining brie y the design principles behind the program.
At a minimum, publication quality tables should be both informative and aesthetically pleasing. In his discussion of what makes for graphical excellence, Edward Tue (2001) listed several important aspects of data presentation including the following: 1. present many numbers in a small space;
2. encourage the eye to compare diﬀerent pieces of data.
While Tue had graphs in mind, the same...
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