Log-files are important in the workflow for two reasons:
- Most importantly they keep track of any messages that are “non-fatal”, i.e. that do not stop the progress of the do-file. However, quite often you want to ignore those messages, unless you expect an error to have occurred, then you search through your log files.
- Convenient is to use the log-file to collect only that part of the output (results) that you will actually need for your research project.
In some instance the standard option that STATA stops whenever an error occurs is a (minor) annoyance. In one of my projects I was running the same set of regressions over several groups with loops. However, whenever STATA found a group that could not run the regressions it would stop, stating the error no observations. Similar things can happen when you select (sub)groups to run commands like summarize, tabulate etc.
One solution is to “capture” the command, so that any error that is returned does not stop the do-file. My favourite example for capture is the following statement that can be found in almost all of my do-files…: