The following zip file ( and notes were provided by Tom Dierickx (Thanks Tom!) It contains

  1. Instructions (readme.doc)
  2. SPSS syntax submitter (tdRunSyntax.exe)
  3. Template clip library (tdSPSS.tcl)
  4. Sample keyword list (tdSPSS.syn)

Tom lists the following reasons for using an alternative syntax editor:

Some of the advantages are the following:

  1. You can create a "code library" that allows you to maintain/re-use code snippets
  2. It has color-coding syntax features
  3. It has powerful search-and-replace features (including regular expressions such as finding tabs, etc.)
  4. You can have line numbers display in the left margin, making it easier to keep track of where you're at!
  5. You can have multiple files open at once with tab selectors at the bottom that allow you to toggle between open documents
  6. It has macro capabilities that can record and replay your keystrokes
  7. You can setup menu items that run configured tools. For example, I built a small .exe file in VB that takes any selected text and submits it to SPSS. (In essence, just like SPSS's syntax editor).

I could probably think of 101 more reasons, but the moral of the story is that I haven't used the SPSS syntax editor for several months. TextPad is far superior for all of the above reasons and more. In fact, you can use it to code for ANY language - Java, HTML/ASP, C++, etc.

Note that it's also useful to set up a new menu item in SPSS that automatically opens TextPad (with a new, blank .sps document)