A discussion last fall considered the extent to which purely software-related questions would be welcome on this site. It didn't really reach a conclusion, but one useful suggestion that arose is to collect a set of links to online support resources (such as user groups and list servers) for the various statistical computing platforms. I guess that would let us close some of these questions in a constructive and relatively guilt-free manner. I, for one, would like to help the people who come by with questions about SAS macro syntax or table access, even though these questions have no direct statistical interest (and would interest only small subcommunities here) and therefore ought to be closed or migrated.

Could we organize replies in the present thread by software platform? The ones of most immediate use are those that keep showing up: R, SAS, SPSS, Stata, Excel.

The (main) FAQ now links to this thread. –  whuber Apr 7 '11 at 6:51
Anything for Matlab? –  BGreene Sep 17 '12 at 22:13
@BG Please start a reply for Matlab if you have any resources in mind! –  whuber Sep 17 '12 at 22:50

10 Answers 10


R-help, and the various R Mailing Lists or SIGs, welcome any questions (provided they conform to the Posting Guide). Answers generally come within one or two days.

Quick-R gives a gentle overview of most of the basic R syntax for people coming from SAS, SPSS, or Stata. Stack Overflow also provides strong support for R questions. Additionally, rseek.org provides a custom Google search that facilitates queries related to R code, packages, articles, etc., while crantastic.org features useful reviews of current packages.

If you're looking for visualization ideas, visit the R Graph gallery and the Learn R blog, both of which feature a wide variety of plots and the accompanying code.

To add the excellent resources list above, I (@michelle) have found the R Tutorial web site to be helpful. Also I have R bloggers as a feed. That has lots of useful posts from various bloggers and is an excellent way to keep up with new packages and new ways of using existing packages. If you're coming from SAS or SPSS, check out R for SAS and SPSS Users; there is a book with more information in it. An equivalent book for Stata users coming to R is R for Stata Users.



Statalist is the place to go with questions about how to do things in any version of Stata. It is active: Stata developers from StataCorp and many experienced users are leading members. Questions cover basic Stata use, Stata programming, and statistical practice.

Talk Stats often includes Stata questions. Beginner questions are common.

Stata Forum.De is dedicated to Stata and is conducted in German.

The official FAQs are extremely useful as well. The help files for specific commands are available online; for direct access, form the url as http://www.stata.com/help.cgi? appended with the command name, like regress: http://www.stata.com/help.cgi?regress. The full pdf documentation is also available online, e.g., the User Guide and the Reference manuals are usually a good place to start for general commands.

ATS/UCLA has an entire section dedicated to Stata. Start from there with the learning modules, the FAQs or the "links by topic."

@lejohn Thanks for adding the links. Welcome to our site! –  whuber Aug 8 '11 at 19:40
I'm surprised no one mentioned Stata's official command documentation, which can be found online. Normally a google search for the command will bring it up in the first few results. To narrow the search, you can add "site:www.stata.com/help.cgi" after searching for the name of the command, e.g. regress site:www.stata.com/help.cgi. –  Ricardo Altamirano Nov 7 '12 at 19:40
The pdf documentation that comes bundled with Stata is also quite excellent and well-written. Some of these manuals can even be found online. Lots of examples, formulas, and syntax. For some reason, many people seem to be unaware of their existence, even when they have used Stata for years. The link at the very top of Stata's documentation that you get when you type -help XXX- takes you there. –  Dimitriy V. Masterov Apr 13 '13 at 3:48
As from Stata 13, the entire manuals are on-line and accessible to all. –  Nick Cox Oct 25 '13 at 23:59


SAS questions do get asked and answered on StackOverflow; SAS also runs a community forum, which is very active.

The proceedings of SUGI are a tremendous resource. Also invaluable if you need material for a corny SAS stand-up comedy routine.

The UCLA Academic Technology Services provide really fantastic resources for SAS.

Chris Hemedinger on his blog, The SAS Dummy, has posted a listing of various SAS blogs he follows (including his own) in two google reader bundles (currently 60 blogs in total!). Even if you don't use a news aggregator it is possible to follow the trail to the various webpages.

Another resource is SAS-L (site has archives and information on how to join).

The online documentation at the SAS support page is a great resource. It includes the SAS User's Guide which contains quite detailed information on SAS procedures, including syntax, theoretical details, and examples. As an example, here's the page for proc glm.

Lex Jansen's site indexes not only all of SAS Global Forum (formerly SUGI) but the regional meetings as well.

May I suggest we remove the reference to runsubmit.com, or at least notate it that the community has been dead for the better part of the year now? That community is basically just spam now, and I can't think of the last time I found a worthwhile answer on it. –  Joe Jul 21 at 15:47
@Joe Thanks for the suggestion - done! –  Matt Parker Jul 21 at 20:05


Several forums devoted to SPSS software usage are;

SPSSX and the google group forum receive a fairly wide variety of data manipulation questions and questions related to statistical analysis. Developer central is sometimes a more appropriate place to go if you are doing anything not related to actions that can be accomplished through traditional syntax or the GUI (e.g. scripting in python or vba).

Make sure to check out the SPSS tag wiki for a more complete list of resources, many of which are freely accessible online.



Although this is not a statistical package per se, it has extensive statistical capabilities.



Learn more about Minitab on Wikipedia





JMP is a desktop statistical exploration tool from SAS.

The primary source of online support for JMP is the JMP User Community site which hosts discussion forums and a file exchange for add-ins and data sets.



Wizard is desktop statistics and data visualization package for Mac OS X. The primary support channel is the Wizard User Group hosted on Google Groups.

Disclosure: I am the developer of the software.


Taverna Workbench

It is a open source tool that has been more used for helping in data mining recently. In other words, you can create pieces of the workflow to code extracting data from different databases, analyze them, do some processing and it also supports output in R.

"Taverna is an open source and domain-independent Workflow Management System – a suite of tools used to design and execute scientific workflows and aid in silica experimentation".


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