When you open Mplus for the first time (see below), it kind of looks like something you would retrieve from a floppy disk. I wasn’t kidding when I said on the Mplus home page that it leaves a lot to the imagination! But paraphrasing the Canadian icon Steve Smith (aka Red Green), “If they don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.” And well, Mplus sure is handy.
To get started, I’ll quickly review the plethora of icons on the screen above. As you’ll notice, it’s all quite intuitive.
New: Opens up a blank syntax window (you’ll see what this looks like shortly)
Open: You can open inputs, outputs, and your data files with this
Save: Mplus requires you to save your syntax before running analysis, so you use this quite a bit
Cut: removes syntax but makes a copy of it (makes it easy to move things around)
Copy: copies syntax (e.g., if you want to make a copy of your syntax in a new window)
Paste: Pastes stuff that you cut or copied
Print: I’ve never printed anything, but I assume it prints your selected syntax window
Run: The mission launch button – selecting this runs your syntax
And that’s basically it for the button options. There is only one more useful thing I’d like to show you for the real basics. When running several analyses with separate syntax windows, the working space in Mplus can get pretty crowded quickly. Fortunately, there are some handy view options.
Now imagine you had the following workspace (imagine these syntax windows were full of beautiful syntax and lovely results because you’re a stellar researcher):
Messy, isn’t it? And that’s just four windows. On a laptop that could be all it takes to get you a little overwhelmed. The first step to getting your life back on track is selecting the View option in the command list.
Selecting Cascade Frames does the following:
Selecting Tile Frames Vertically
Selecting Tile Frames Horizontally
And that’s about it for the real basics. All quite straightforward and intuitive – fortunately a trend in Mplus that goes right into the next topics of writing syntax and running analyses.