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Weaving Stata Documents

April 22, 2012

StatWeave has been recently updated and it has become a powerful engine for weaving Stata documents.


The good news is that we can now use graphical commands with Statweave. There’s a minimal working example in the testing suite: Stata-test.swv. The Statweave package offers some handy customizations like code formatting (see \StataweaveOpts{}), and basically all we need to do is to put our Stata code in a Statacode environment. For R, we would use a Rcode environment. Like with Sweave, we can display or hide the code, and ask Statweave to generate a figure like shown in the following example:

\begin{Statacode}{fig, hide, height=4.5in, width=9in, dispw=4in}
predict g_hat
twoway (scatter gp100m disp) (line g_hat disp, sort), by(foreign)

The STATWEAVE Users’ Manual has more informations on running and customizing StatWeave. I think it should not be too difficult to create language-specific files for, e.g. Julia or gsl-shell.

Context filter

Nowadays, the Context filter module allows to call external programs, like R, Pandoc, or Asymptote, and insert their results into our $\TeX$ document. That’s really awesome because it means that we can build dynamic documents that keep in sync with accompanying code or simulation, à la Sweave. There are nice demos in the tests/ directory in the aforementioned Github repository.

I tested the R weaving option, and it works quite well although I noticed two minor points: (a) a proc.time() command is issued at the end of each R chunk, and (b) we have to explicitly ask to save graphics before embedding them in our document. The first issue is easily solved by modifying the filtercommand:

filtercommand={R CMD BATCH -q --no-timing %
  --\externalfilterparameter{mode} %
  \externalfilterinputfile\space \externalfilteroutputfile}

Adding --no-timing will ensure R will exit without printing elapsed time. I added another option, --\externalfilterparameter{mode}, which allows to write things like what is shown below:


to get results returned by R only (well, it’s a bit crappy but it works). The second issue should easily be solved by saving all graphics into a single PDF file, and using \externalfigure command with a page= option. This is what I use with LaTeX and it works quite well. So, we could add something like this:


at the beginning of our document, and a command at the end. This way, we just have to call \externalfigure while incrementing page number after each call.

What about Stata? A basic filter would look like:

$ stata -q -b do \externalfilterinputfile

which tells Stata to process \externalfilterinputfile do file in batch mode. Again, there are some caveats with the above command: it will leave something like end of do file as well as a leading Stat prompt (.) at the end of the Stata code chunk.

I wrote a small Bash script to post-process Stata do file available as a Gist:

It has few options: keep only results (i.e., remove Stata commands), and/or tidy up the log file by removing extra blank lines. If the do file includes -graph export- commands, they are removed as well. (Almost everything is done with sed.)

$ ctxstata -h
Usage: /usr/local/bin/ctxstata [-hst] file

This script asks Stata to process a do file and log its output.

  -h  --help    show this message
  -s  --slave   slave mode (discard Stata command)
  -t  --tidy    remove all empty lines

I defined the following filter:

  [filtercommand={ctxstata --\externalfilterparameter{option} \externalfilterinputfile},

For an unknown reason, it works for printing Stata code and results, but it fails rendering images. So, the following piece of code will not generate an EPS picture:

sysuse auto, clear
summarize mpg
twoway scatter mpg weight, by(foreign, total)
graph export mpg.eps

However, processing a do file just happens to work:


That’s puzzling, so I guess I’m just missing something obvious or I need to investigate more about the filter module behavior.

stata tex

See Also

» Weaving scientific documents » Easier literate programming with R » Happy TeXying » Color schemes for Emacs and TeX » Pretty printing statistical distribution tables