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Data editing Visual Binning

Through Visual Binning you can in an easy and visual way create classes for a scale variable. The labels for the classes are automatically added by SPSS.

In our example data file the variable v02 contains the age of the respondent in years.



Using Visual Binning

Choose Transform > Visual Binning

and select variable v02.

Click Continue. Now you come to the actual Visual Binning dialog box. Complete it as shown below, following steps 1, 2 and 3.

The steps to take are:

  1. Make the Cutpoints (see the picture below). By default SPSS creates classes of equal width plus a first class without a lower bound and a final class without an upper bound.

    As an alternative you can create the classes based on equal percentiles. This means that you want the all classes to contain an equal number of observations. This normally will result is awkward class limits. You can adjust them so that as a result all classes contain roughtly equal numbers of data, while the class limits are acceptable for a general audience.
  2. Click to generate the labels.
  3. Give the new variable a name and adjust the label that SPSS generates if you want to.
Note that you can change the binning by dragging the class limits with your mouse.
You will have to do this before you take step 2 and create labels for the classes.
You can also drag first and next make further adjustments using the table showing the values of the class limits.

dragging bins


The result

Below you see the new variable with its properties in the variable view.
We have also made a frequency table for this variable.

frequencies age binned

Note: You could get the same result using RECODE, but that takes a lot more effort, and you can't see what the distribution of the original variable looks like during the definition of the classes.


Last modified 30-10-2012

Jos Seegers, 2009; English version by Gé Groenewegen.