Annoyed that Stata again took another 2 hours to complete your command, just to find out that you missed to something and need to rerun? And another two hours gone..

Experiences like this are typical for working on larger datasets. Long processing times for collapse, merge, and egen commands can take forever, at least it feels like this.

One approach to reduce frustration is to use the awesome ftools provided by Sergio Correia. Ftools are a reimplementation of sone of the most popular Stata data processing commands.

Currently, the following commands are available in a revised implementation:

- egen group (now fegen group)
- collapse (now fcollapse)
- merge (now join)
- levelsof (now flevelsof)

The time savings can be immense. From my experience in using ftools I experienced that my merges and collapse took only roughly a third of what they do with the regular Stata commands–immense productivity improvements!

Now how to get ftools? You get them via SSC, thus when in your Stata command window type the following command and hit enter:

ssc install ftools