Programming/Compile Related Options

Frequently Used Options



Allows you to use the phone variables specified in FONEBULD when building the .fon file as part of your program.  You need to have a local version of the .fon file available for the program to read.  Using this allows you to use your phone variables in PHONE sub-types GET_PHONE_INFO and PUT_PHONE_TEX, in the XF FUNCTION XF(PHONE_DATA()), conditional references, and \[<PHONE VARIABLE>] references to display the text therein.

When you use this feature, the FONE_TEXT_LENGTH will automatically be set to match the .fon file it is reading the variables from.



Shortform: QFF

Specifies a QFF file different than studyname.QFF. This causes the questionnaire file produced by PREPARE to have the name designated here instead of the default name. One use of this is to set up a coding questionnaire with a unique QFF file name, but using the same data file being interviewed on by someone else. This QFF file will still use the FON, QUO, and TR files as the study name implies.

Other Options



This command allows you to have questions that start in the data area of a prior question and go beyond the end of the data area for that question, or that start before a question and overlap into another data area. The default is that this is not allowed to reduce the chances of data being mistakenly overwritten.


This allows you to have quota names referenced by the QUOTA function, but not have that same quota name also referenced in either a QUOTA question or the SET_QUOTA compiler directive. The default is that it is an error to check a quota that is not otherwise referenced. Use this option with caution as it can lead to incorrect quota checking if you make a typo between the name that is checked versus the name that is incremented.


Shortform: CHK

Use –CHECK_FILE to suppress the creation of a list of the compiled questions and their data locations (the CHK file).



Shortform: CHKI

Allows more items to be included in the .chk file. Use the option “ATYPE” to save question types FIELD, VARIABLE, and TEXT that have the sub-type USE_PREVIOUS_ANSWER.  Use the option “HIDE” to save questions that were hidden (HIDE option used on the label line).  Use the sub-type “ALL” to save both types.



Shortform: LOCREQ

Requires all data-asking questions to have a data location specified (or a previous question’s location). This is useful when hard coding data locations, to ensure you do not mistakenly let the program assign any data locations for you. If you also try to use work area you will get a warning since it does not do much since all questions must already be hardcoded whether they are in the work area or not. If you still want to use work area you can turn off the warning by using DATA_LOCATION_REQUIRED=ALLOWWORK.


Shortform: DB

Use –DB_FILE to suppresses the creation of a variables data base (DB) file.


Shortform: HRD

Use –HARD_COPY_FILE to suppress the creation of a hardcopy (HRD) file. This will override a HARD_COPY compiler command in your spec file.



Use LABEL_REQUIRED=DATA to have the program check that all questions that record answers in the data have a label. This makes sense in general because you are usually referring to them later in reports and such.

Use LABEL_REQUIRED=ALL to force a label on every question. This is useful because in the case of later changes, resumed interviews are always resumable as long as there are corresponding labels for all the questions in the suspended file.

In general, requiring labels is good practice and this keyword was added to enforce that practice.



Tells the program what the next number is to use when creating temporary labels.  This is very useful to make sure changes to a questionnaire do not affect the original structure so that older suspends will still resume.  Temporary labels “cfm#####” are assigned to questions without labels.


Shortform: NUMWIDREQ

Requires a width on all data location specifications for all EXPRESSION questions and NUMERIC questions without a range. This keeps you from accepting the default width of 9 columns for these.


Shortform: QSP

Use –QSP_FILE to suppress the creation of the backup specification file (QSP) at the time of compile and possible later decompile using ~PREPARE MAKE SPEC_FILES.



Causes the question sub-type to be printed in the SUM file.


Shortform: SUM

Use –SUMMARY_FILE to suppress the creation of a summary list which contains a one-line description of each question (the SUM file).



This forces the questionnaire writer to match the proper width the program would assign on all questions. Otherwise, users can make widths that are greater than or equal to the required width.