RATS provides point-and-click access to the FREDĀ® (Federal Reserve Economic Data) databases provided by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. This has a main database with U.S. macro data and a large number of additional databases from other sources.

To access the U.S. database, just select the FRED(Online) Browser operation from the Data/Graphics menu. (This requires an active internet connection.) This displays a list of the main database categories in the database in a new window. To access the other databases, use FRED(other sources) (added with version 9.1). That displays a list of the source database.

Each window looks much like a Series List Window, except that it lists categories rather than individual series. You can double-click on a category (or sub-category) to see a list of the available series in that category. Once you drill down to the end of the subcategories, you will see a list of series displayed using a standard Series List Window.

While you can double-click on one of these series to view the data, use the toolbar icons or View menu operations to generate graphs or compute statistics, and so on, we recommend that you download the series to your own computer first. You can do that by storing the series onto a RATS format file, or by reading them directly into memory.

To read the series into memory, do View-Series Window to display the Series Window, and then drag and drop the selected series from the FRED series list into the Series Window. If you haven't set a CALENDAR, you'll see a Calendar Wizard dialog box asking you to confirm the frequency and starting date of the series you are reading in (the settings in the Wizard should default to those of the series you are reading in).

To store the series onto a RATS format file, first open a RATS format file using New or Open on the File menu, and then drag-and-drop the series you want from the browser to the RATS format file. You can view, edit, or graph the data from the RATS file window, or use the RATS format Data Wizard to read the data into memory.

Once you know the names of the series that you want, you can also read the data directly into RATS (again, as long as you have an active Internet connection) using DATA with FORMAT=FRED.