Our new version MERLIN 2003 is in Beta Release right now.

MERLIN v2003

Preliminary Release Notes

1st Quarter 2003

MERLIN has been rewritten with full 32 bit addressing with Lahey/Fujitsu compilers for Windows and Linux Operating Systems. This means dramatically increased limits for all MERLIN functionality!!! The prior limitation of 32,000 byte code blocks that caused error messages such as "too many if/then blocks" or "too many destinations" or simply "too much code" should become a thing of the past. Even though there were ways to work around these limits, we felt that the computers were becoming fast enough and the compilers rugged enough for us to simply raise the limits in the program itself!

In MERLIN 2003, to be released during the 1st Quarter 2003, these code blocks will be set to 1,000,000 bytes rather than to 32,000 bytes. We believe that this will have dramatic effects on all aspects of MERLIN usage. Final testing is underway as we write these notes. Needless to say, this is a non-upgradeable change to MERLIN, and all old IDFs and ITFs must be recompiled and executed in MERLIN v2003.


MERLIN utility MERSORT has been released to do all ASCII and BINARY sorting. This utility replaces ASORT and DSORT as a standalone program. It is available as of 1/1/2002. Any MERLIN license-holder or leasee can call DATAN and request a copy via email.


New Sequence ID number SEQNO has been automatically added to every IDF. If the Serial Number (integer) and the Serial Identifier (Character) are absent, then SEQNO will take their place as the control variable IOBS. If IOBS is present, then SEQNO will be also present as an alternate integer ID variable.


EXCEL XLS files are produced directly by MERLIN now. The XLS files parallel the actual MERLIN table, including column widths and row label widths.


LASER PRINT – Now supports COLOR printing and other features on specific HP Laserjet printers supporting PCL5. The user simply maps the laser commands into the FONT01-30 commands in the PRINTER.DTC file in the MERLIN system directory. The user can then access them in his/her MERLIN Laser Control Block (LCB). Sample PCL5 commands for are available in PRINTER.DTC files on the distribution CD.


LABEL CONTROL <&CELL> now can refer to any table cell in the ITF, not just the current table. Furthermore, this function can be used repeatedly in the MERLIN job. As a reminder, to place a table cell value that is in the current table into text for the current table, use this syntax:

FT=’Number of Small Town Restaurants is <&CELL=R3,C5>’,

But, if the table cell value to be inserted is from another table, then insert the table name in the &CELL label control as follows:

FT=’Number of Small Town Restaurants in Peoria is <&CELL=[#14]R3,C5>’,



Several new statistical functions have been added, similar in usage to TAVG and TSUM, which return table-based statistics. They are TBST, TSSQ, TSDV, TSER and TEVR. They are used for Base for Statistics, Sum of Squares, Standard Deviation, Standard Error, and Error Variance, respectively. Please see the documentation on TAVG or TSUM for usage.

New FUNCTION NINT returns the nearest integer from a floating point or decimal number. (This is another way of saying that a number is returned in rounded-off form.)

The result can be stored in an IVAR or a WVAR.




New users will certainly want to use the large record editing tool MEREDIT (a.k.a. MPE), which allows input, editing and verification of data records up to 65,000 characters of ASCII as well as binary data. Note: we have increased this up to one million characters with our current technology.


The original binary data file editing program DEDIT is released with MERLIN 2002 as an unsupported program, due to popular demand. We will release the v6.6 documentation as-is on the MERLIN distribution CD.



FREQ now supports variable types WVARS, CVARS, and IVARS.  Frequencies of NETS of these is coming next.  FREQ runs in both Data and Tables stages now.

BRIDGE now operates in Data stages as well as in Tables stages.



IMPORT from SPSS Portable files is now implemented. All data and titles/labels are imported from SPSS into MERLIN syntax, with the usual SPSS limitations.

SSS XML IMPORT and EXPORT standards are supported with a standalone program, available from the SSS Web site. MERLIN supports the original v1 SSS IMPORT and EXPORT specifications, which can be input into this conversion program to create SSS XML specs.



ART – Automatic Reject Type. This character format determines the meaning of the Automatic Reject Category added by ARC. If ARC’E’ is specified, then only errors such as multiple bits in an MVAR will turn the category on. If ARC’R’ is specified, then the "reject" interpretation is used, and errors, remainders, and unknown bits will turn the category on.

CDD – Character for Delimiting Data. This character format specifies which character is to be used to delimit data elements with LIST commands with the LCD format. LCD specifies to use commas to separate data. CDD specifies an alternative character, such as CDD’|’.

CUI – Character to print Underneath column Items. This character format is often a "%" or a "$", but it can be anything, specified in the column item text as, for instance, <T=CUI’#’>.

DPI – Decimal Points for Indices. This numeric format controls the number of decimal points for the Index (RTI). Until now, the Indices were controlled by DPR. Note: the Indices should be whole numbers in most cases.

IBN – Indentation Before footNotes. This numeric format controls the number of spaces to print before printing footnotes. Footnotes are FAZ/FNZ/FUV/FMA. The default indentation is Row Label Width (RLW)+1.

LAD – Lines After Distribution. This numeric format controls the number of lines to print after a distribution table and before a statistics table.

OFB – Output character For Blank. This character is output by TOOLKIT when SVARS and MVARS are blank. For instance, SPSS/PC prefers to see "." For missing values, so OFB’.’ Would be appropriate in this case.

SDZ – Supress Divide by Zero Messages. This format suppresses all table divide by zero messages.

SHR – SHaRe Page with Prior Table. This format tells MERLIN to allow a table to share a physical page with the previous table (LASER PCL only).

STA – Print STAtistics. This logical format, when false, causes MERLIN to suppress all statistics. This is useful when doing Frequency tables, for instance.

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