print friendly version

Questions and answers

Why do I get a message about Unicode when logging in to SPSS?

You may see a message about Unicode Mode when opening SPSS version 21 or newer.

Warning message about Unicode Mode which displays when you open SPSS21
From version 21 of SPSS, Unicode is used as the default mode for new files and you should choose to Use Unicode encoding unless you need to produce data files compatible with versions of SPSS older than 16.

Producing data files compatible with old versions of SPSS
Data files saved in Unicode cannot be read by versions of SPSS earlier than 16. If you need to produce a data file that can be opened in an older version:

  • close all open datasets (or restart SPSS)
  • choose Edit, Options and then General
  • under Character Encoding for Data and Syntax, select Locale's writing system
  • open the data file you want to produce and save it again now that you have changed the mode

More information is available on the IBM website:

Help us to improve this answer

Please suggest an improvement
(login needed, link opens in new window)

Your views are welcome and will help other readers of this page.


This is question number 2587, which appears in the following categories:

Created by David Guest on 6 August 2013 and last updated by Mark Wilson on 8 August 2016