How to Install Meta-Analysis Commands in Stata

User-written meta-analysis commands (e.g., metan, metafunnel) must be downloaded and installed to perform meta-analysis in Stata.

Stata, a statistical software package by StataCorp, boasts an impressive suite of meta-analysis features. metan is the Stata module for fixed and random effects meta-analysis. metafunnel “plots funnel plots: graphical displays used to examine whether the results of a meta-analysis may have been affected by publication or other types of bias.” These two commands do not come with Stata 10 by default; users of this and several subsequent versions of Stata have to download and install these user-written meta-analysis commands themselves.

Below, I summarize how I installed metan and metafunnel in Stata 10. Depending on your version of Stata, YMMV.

I used the guide available in Chapter 18 of Systematic Reviews in Health Care: Meta-Analysis in Context, 2nd Edition “Meta-analysis in Stata,” by Sterne, Bradburn, and Egger, but with minor changes and additions, which I will outline below.

Step 1: Update your installation of Stata.

. update all

Step 2: Install the user-written commands, e.g. metan, metafunnel.

I installed the commands from within Stata, i.e.

Help → SJ and User-written Programs → STB

You will see a list of Stata Technical Bulletins (stb) commands. I followed the instructions found in Sterne et al.’s guide:

Stata commands metan funnel metacum metabias metareg meta

In my Stata installation, I found the packages had an underscore, e.g., sbe24_1, instead of a decimal point, e.g., sbe24.1.

In addition, I installed the following metafunnel command within Stata by typing:

. ssc install metafunnel

This command enables the creation of funnel plots with pseudo 95% confidence limits.

Step 3: Check for updated versions or new commands:

. update all
. search metan

Having performed the steps above, I could not use the metan command to perform a fixed and random-effects meta-analysis. The problem was an old version of metan, specifically metan 1.0! You can check your version of metan:

. which metan

To update the version of metan, enter the following command on the Stata command line:

. ssc install metaaggr, all replace

Completing this last step enabled me to conduct a fixed and random-effects meta-analysis.

The steps above should not take longer than 5 minutes. Enjoy!

21 comments add your comment

    • Glad the article helped to solve your problem with Stata. Sometimes, it takes some trial and error and/or Googling. If those things don’t work, I’ll be happy to assist. 🙂

      • Hi,
        I would like to thank you too. Thank you so much. My Stata also consistently rejected commands. The whole thing was to click “update all.” I have never thought the answer would be this easy.

      • Hello,

        I tried all of these things, and STATA wont recognize the command. r199 keeps coming up and I have updated everything and added all the new commands.

  1. Hello, I have installed the metan commands but how can i install follwoing commands
    please guide me
    Dr Shafi

    • @Dr Shafi – The information you’re seeking is found in Step 2 above. For example, to install metacum, first click on the “Help” tab within Stata, followed by “SJ and User-written Programs”, and then “STB”. Click on stb42, and then sbe22. You should be done!

  2. Hello,
    Thanks for the info, though Im new to stata, I have always done analysis in SPSS, but recently need to perform a meta analysis. Any info to guide me through this especially being new to all the commands?

    • @lumen – I’m familiar with Stata but not SPSS. I’ve found short courses in Stata quite useful because the learning is guided and you are able to get feedback – see . There are books on using Stata but I have rarely found them of much help.

  3. Hello,
    I have followed as your recommendation.
    However, I can still see the sign of “unrecognized command”.
    What might be the problem?

    • @Kyoungjune – It could be related to a later version of Stata – the instructions above apply to Stata 10.

  4. Dear Andy Teh,

    I have followed the steps as you mentioned. I have the metan 1.0 version (*! version 1.0 5May98 STB-44 sbe24). When I try to write ‘scc install metaaggr, all replace’ command, my STATA says:
    “scc install metaaggr, all replace
    unrecognized command: scc
    I have a MacBook, but the STATA version i fully compatible. Do you know why the command does not work?

    • @Ulrich – I’m not sure if the problem is due to your version of Stata (I used version 10) or the fact you’re on a Mac operating system (I use Linux), or something else. The steps above have generally been replicable by those with the same setup as mine.

  5. Thanks a lot for the advice! I followed the steps and updated the stata 12 I am using. However, in meta regression analysis, the output doesn’t give the following results:-
    -REML estimate of between study variance
    -The between study variance explained (Adj-R squared)
    -Joint test for all covariates.

  6. You are a HERO! This needs to be repeated- You sir, are a HERO! Thanks a ton! 😀

  7. Dr Andy Teh

    I need to run metaregression. I tried sometimes, but I have no success.

    I believe that I do not know how to insert data in STATA. Could you send me one picture or a guide showing how I can do this?

    Thank you

  8. Hi, I am using stata from server of the UNSW. I need to run stata on my computer but it seems it not allow me to install. Could you please show me the way to install it? I found last time that I need to change the directory but I forgot. Thanks for your help!

    • @Diep – I’m sorry I don’t provide support for the installation of Stata. I suggest you reach out to your university’s IT Department for help.

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