BUGS Utility for Spreadsheets
Utility for Spreadsheets (BUS) converts BUGS output into an importable
format for spreadsheet-based programs such as Excel. By default,
BUGS writes all of the values of the monitored nodes into a long
column of values1. BUS reads in BUGS output files, and then
writes a file in which each monitored node is placed in a separate column.
In this format, each node is easily treated as a separate variable
by a variety of programs including Excel and other spreadsheet-based
programs. BUS output is also easy to import to database programs such as
Access, or to other Windows-based statistical packages such as SAS for
Windows or SPSS.
BUGS and WinBUGS are powerful and flexible programs. Their
functionality has been further augmented by software such as CODA and
BOA. Still, it is of occasional (and sometimes regular) interest to
import the results of a BUGS run into another software package to
capitalize on that package's capabilities. BUS can help to
automate this task.
While it is originally designed to work with spreadsheet-based programs,
BUS could be conceivably used in other tasks. For example, it may be of
interest to import BUGS output into Mathematica for graphing. BUS could
be used in an intermediary fashion. The output from BUS could then be
readily formatted to integrate into Mathematica, even though Mathematica
is not a spreadsheet-based package.
BUS could also be used in an educational context in conjuction
with the BUGS software in a course on Bayesian methods. BUS can be
used to import BUGS output into Excel, which may be a more user-friendly
environment for further summarization or processing.
Read: BUS reads two files that follow the Classic
BUGS conventions for BUGS output. The first file is a *.out file that
contains a long column of the values of the monitored nodes. In Classic
BUGS this is called bugs.out by default. The second file is a *.ind
file that indexes the *.out file. In Classic BUGS this is called
bugs.ind by default.
If WinBUGS is being used, the CODA button from the Sample Monitor Tool
can be used to create the appropriate files.
The two files must share the same name,
such as myfile.ind and myfile.out. Make sure to save the
index file in Text format with a .ind extension. Similarly, save the long column of
values in Text format
with a .out extension. Note that WinBUGS may append a .txt extension
to the files. If this happens, the files will need to be renamed so
that they have the correct extensions.
Specify the *.out file to be read by typing in its path and name,
without the .out extension. For example, to read the bugs.out
file in the c:\bugs directory, enter c:\bugs\bugs. Alternatively, you
can browse for the file. BUS will look for and read the associated
Note that reading the Classic BUGS file named bugs1.out will not
produce the desired result.
Write: Clicking on Write will cause BUS to write a file named
bugsout.txt to the directory where the input files are located. This
file is a tab-delimited text file with each variable in its own column,
and is ready to be imported.
BUS is written in Visual Basic 6.0 and so requires that
msvbvm60.dll be placed in the Windows\System or Windows\System32 folder.
Technically, other files are required to be present as well, but if you
are viewing this page via a web browser on a Windows machine, those
files should already be there. dlls are freely available, and can be
found on many Internet sites. A zipped version of msvbvm60.dll
is available below.
Out files of up to 30 megs in size have been successfully (if somewhat
slowly) processed by BUS. At some point memory limitations may crop up.
The Read subroutine makes use of 4 byte Long integer variables
which, in theory, should allow 2,147,483,647 lines to be read. Storing
all of this information in an array, however, may not necessarily
It is interesting to note that the file size for BUS output files may be
considerably smaller than that of the original BUGS output file. This
is due in part to the elimination of redundant iteration
information. The more parameters are monitored in BUGS, the more BUS
will reduce file sizes. For example, a 12 meg BUGS file with 92
monitored parameters was reduced to 6.5 megs by BUS. Zipping
produces even more dramatic gains. The aforementioned BUGS file was
2.75 megs when zipped,
whereas the zipped BUS file was a mere 259K.
Version 1.0.1: fixed overflow associated with writing larger files
Version 1.0: initial release (6/22/00)
Download BUS. Please see the enclosed readme
You may need one or more of the following
system files depending on your setup.
Questions? Glitches? Interesting stories? Send email to
1 Actually, there are two columns - the first column is
the iteration number and the second is the variable's value at that