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IBM SPSS Statistics (SPSS) is a popular software package used for statistical analysis, charting, reporting, data management, and data documentation.  VCU Technology Services has a site license agreement which provides SPSS to VCU matriculated students, faculty, and staff to use for teaching and research purposes at no cost.  SPSS for administrative use is also available for a fee.

For information concerning the permitted installation and use of the SPSS products, please read the conditions of license.

SPSS products

The SPSS Statistics package provided by VCU Technology Services can be installed on a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer or used remotely via App2Go.  It includes the following products:

IBM SPSS Statistics BaseAdvanced StatisticsAmos*, BootstrappingCategoriesComplex SamplesConjointCustom TablesData PreparationDecision TreesDirect MarketingExact TestsForecastingMissing ValuesNeural NetworksRegression

*SPSS Amos is only available via App2Go.  

Renew or re-license

Select your operating system.

Terms of license

The SPSS products obtained under the VCU license are subject to all of the following conditions:

  • All installations must be registered.
  • You may not resell this license and/or the products it covers.
  • Installation and licensing is limited to computers owned by:
    • VCU or VCUHS
    • Currently enrolled VCU students*
    • Currently employed faculty or staff members of VCU or VCHHS*  
  • Users must be currently enrolled VCU students or current VCU and VCUHS employees.
  • Usage is limited to VCU related teaching and non-commercial academic research.
  • Any other use, including, but not limited to, university administration and operations, is strictly prohibited.
    • In particular, the following are prohibited:
      • VCU or VCUHS administrative use
      • VAMC use

*NOTE: If one's VCU enrollment or employment status ends or their ownership of the computer(s) ends, the SPSS products must immediately be uninstalled.

Non-commercial academic research

Non-commercial academic research is research by degree-seeking students and faculty members where (i) the results of such research are not intended primarily for the benefit of a third party; (ii) such results are made available to anyone without restriction on use, copying or further distribution; and (iii) any copy of any such result is furnished for no more than the cost of hosting, reproduction, and shipping.

Administrative use

Although administrative use of SPSS is prohibited, individual administrative licenses may be purchased through the VCU education contract at a discounted price.  Please contact the IT Support Center for more information.


Download and install

Select your operating system.

Follow these steps

  1. Identify the version of SPSS compatible with your computer.
  2. Download the installation files and agree to the software licensing and registration authorization.
  3. Install the software on your computer.
  4. License your software using the unique SPSS authorization code sent to your VCU email.
  5. Update using Fix Packs, if available for your software version, to resolve bugs and ensure a smoother SPSS experience.
  6. Start using SPSS.
  7. Renew your SPSS license every six months (around June 30 and December 30) with a new authorization code. 

Alternative access

Installing on your personal computer is not necessary. SPSS products are also available for use via the web on the‭ ‬App2Go server, and on all VCU Library workstations and loaner laptops


VCU students, faculty and staff are provided access to SPSS learning resources for new and experienced users alike, including video courses, exercise files and guide books. 

Technology Services courses

Online courses

SPSS for Dummies by Arthur Griffith

IBM manuals and documentation

Older manuals

These two SPSS 21 manuals are listed here because they contain significantly more information than their version 22 and later counterparts.

This manual contains an explanation of how to read data into SPSS from fixed-width (column aligned) text files.  Although this is an old manual, this explanation is still accurate for current versions of SPSS and, to our knowledge, is not available elsewhere.  See pages 4-17 through 4-33.

Technical support

Having difficulty with installing or renewing SPSS? Receiving error messages? The IT Support Center provides technical support for SPSS software applications.

Software updates

IBM releases occasional updates called "fix packs" to improve bugs and other issues with SPSS software. To download and install fix packs, select your operating system:

Statistical consulting services

VCU Statistical Sciences & Operations Research provides free consultation services, including support for research work, statistical advice and analytical know-how. These are available by appointment to all current VCU faculty, staff and students. Find out more.

Email listserv

The SPSS listserv provides notification of upgrades, maintenance fixes, training and learning opportunities and other related news. Users who download SPSS directly from Technology Services are automatically subscribed.

To subscribe/unsubscribe from the SPSS listserv (VCU email address required), select your operating system:

Using R with SPSS

You can run R programs within SPSS to analyze the data files that you have opened in SPSS.  R is a free software environment for statistical computing, graphics, and more.  To run R programs within SPSS, you must first install R and then install the free SPSS Statistics Essentials for R package.

Download the Essentials for R
  • You must install R before you install the SPSS Essentials For R package, and it must be the correct version of R for your version of SPSS.
  • Read the Essentials For R installation instructions (obtained at the appropriate instructions link above) to see which version of R is recommended for your version of SPSS.  Download and install that version of R.  The instructions will tell you where it may be downloaded.
  • After R has been installed, install the Essentials For R package.  The installer may fail if R is not already installed.
Using R

To use R within SPSS, open an SPSS Syntax window (from the SPSS menus, select File / New / Syntax).  Then type your R commands, sandwiched between the "BEGIN PROGRAM R." and the "END PROGRAM." commands (note the "." period at the end of those two commands).  Here is a simple example:


x <- 2 + 5

cat("the value of x is", x)


To execute those commands, display the "Run" menu in the Syntax window and select "All".  The resulting output will normally be displayed in your SPSS Viewer window.

You can execute a subset of the commands in the Syntax window by selecting (highlighting) them with the mouse, displaying the "Run" menu, and selecting "Selection" (or clicking the green triangular "Run Selection" toolbar button).  However, you should select and run an entire R "sandwich" (the "BEGIN PROGRAM R." and the "END PROGRAM." commands, and all the R commands in between them).

If desired, you can save the contents of the Syntax window to a file (from the Syntax window menus, select File / Save).  Then, in the future, you can re-use those program commands by re-opening that file in a Syntax window (from the menus of any SPSS window, select File / Open / Syntax, then browse for your file).

Your R commands can read and write data from and to an SPSS data file.  Here are related articles of interest:

SPSS on App2Go