IBM PASW (SPSS) .sav Reader/Writer

Licensing options for this format begin with FME Desktop Professional Edition.

The IBM PASW (SAV) Reader/Writer allows FME to read and write files in the SAV format.

The SAV format is supported though an external statistics application Stat/Transfer made by CircleSys. Usage of this format requires that Stat/Transfer be installed and licensed.

Please visit for information about obtaining and licensing this software.


SAV files are binary files that store data as a sequence of variables and values. A SAV dataset will contain multiple records, with each record storing the same number of values that are associated with variable names. A SAV dataset consists of one feature type which will be the dataset name.

Variables are stored in the form of a dictionary of data and metadata, that also include variable and value labels. In essence, a single SAV variable is stored with a name and label, and for each record in the dataset it stores a value and zero or more value labels. FME currently does not support variable and value labels. An attribute’s name will be a variable’s label, unless the label is not present, in which case the name will be the variable name.

There is no geometry or dimension to the features created from the SAV files. Therefore, none of the features read from SPSS SAV are directly viewable.

By convention, these files use the .sav filename extension, but the SAV reader can read any extension. The SAV reader can read a compressed or decompressed .sav file and the writer will always write compressed .sav files.

Reader Overview

The SAV reader module produces an FME feature for each record in the input SAV file. The feature’s attributes will be the names of the variables in the dataset.

Writer Overview

The SAV Writer writes all attributes of a feature to a SAV file. This is a folder writer, so features of different types are written to different SAV files.