switching between string and numeric views in the SPSS data editor

Usually, the default view in SPSS's data editor window is something like this:

If you prefer to view string information instead of numbers, it's easy to switch the view. In SPSS 21, just click this icon in the menu bar.
If you're using an earlier version of SPSS, use Edit -> Options and on the General tab, Under Variable Lists, select "Display labels" for numeric view and "Display Names" for the string view.