Data files and file types in Stata
Stata, like many proprietary statistical software packages, has its own data format -- *.dta files are Stata data files. Stata can read other file types, including comma-separated values (*.csv) files and Microsoft Excel files (*.xls/*.xlsx). Note: If you have a file in another format (e.g. from SAS, SPSS, etc), you can use StatTransfer to convert the file type. Find StatTransfer (and KeyClient, which you will need to run StatTransfer), on the Reed Downloads page.
There are a number of ways to load data into Stata.
Using the menus
If you are working with a *.dta file: File > Open
If you are working with a *.xls, *.csv, *.txt (etc) file: File > Import and select the appropriate file type. Note: When importing data, be sure to specify your delimiter and check the 'Use first row for variable names" box if appropriate.
At the command line
If working with at *.dta file: use [filename]. (Example: use thesis_data) It is not necessary to specify the *.dta extension. Make sure you navigate to the directory where your datafile resides, if you are not already there.
Example: cd "/Users/bottk/Documents/2014-2015/thesis_2014-2015")
If you are working with another file type, the command to use is import. Check the documentation for which arguments the command accepts.
Example, importing a comma-delimited (*.csv) file where variable names are the first row in my datafile:
import delimited "/Users/bottk/Desktop/thesis_data/RiceWheat.csv", delimiter(comma) varnames(1)
Below the command line
You can also use these icons to browse for and select your file. Note: this only works for Stata data (*.dta) files.