Susan Slaughter

Top 10 Reasons to Use SAS Enterprise Guide

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS on May 25, 2010 at 10:22 am

There are many reasons to use Enterprise Guide. Here I present my list of the top 10. The drum roll, please….

10. It’s free

If you have a Base SAS license for the Windows operating system, then you don’t have to pay a cent more to use Enterprise Guide. So you might as well try it, right?

9. It never hurts to have another skill

With just a little bit of practice, you can master EG and add another item to your resume.

8. Learn to write SAS code

Well, sort of. EG is already a tool for learning SAS programming, but there is room for improvement. To fulfill its potential EG needs two things.

First, it needs to hide those ugly housekeeping statements that get tacked to the beginning and end of every SAS program when EG passes it to your SAS server. EG doesn’t need to get rid of them, just give us an option to hide them–and make hiding them the default.  EG 4.2 has taken a step in the right direction because the output now includes a tab that shows just the normal code, but the log is as confusing and unfriendly as ever so there is still room for improvement.

(I have just been informed by Chris Hemedinger of SAS Institute fame, that you can make most of the housekeeping statements disappear from your log by selecting Tools > Options > Results and unchecking Show generated wrapper code in SAS log. Sweet! Now if they would just make this the default so that newbies don’t have to figure this out, I would be completely satisfied.)

Second, EG needs a DATA step builder because the DATA step (what power, what elegance!) really is the secret to SAS’s success. There is good news on this. The next release of EG (4.3) lacks a task to build DATA steps, but it does include promising features that will help new programmers to write SAS programs (including DATA steps).

We may yet see EG transformed into a powerful learning tool for programmers.

7. Run SAS on a remote server

You can already do this, of course, with SAS/Connect, but it’s easier with EG. However, installing the software and setting up those servers is still not for the faint of heart. And you’ll need SAS Integration Technologies which, I understand, is pricey.

6. Generate reports in PDF and RTF output without writing ODS statements

Because not everyone wants to write ODS statements.

5. Learn to write SQL code

If you already know how to write SAS code, but you have yet to master PROC SQL, then you are in luck. You really can learn to write SQL code by using the point-and-click Query Builder and then studying the code it generates. You’ll be spouting terms like left inner join, right outer join, and full join in no time.

4. PROC TABULATE with ease

Personally, I’ve never considered PROC TABULATE that hard to use. But I will admit that you have to take it slowly, testing after you add each individual statement, option, or variable. But with EG it’s as easy as can be. Just point-and-click your way to the rectangular, summary report of your dreams complete with the colors, fonts, and formats of your choice.

3. Love that Style Manager

Because hardly anyone wants to write TEMPLATE procedures.

2. Process Flows

See–at a glance–the logic behind your work, how it all fits together, how it builds to your final results.

1. Projects

Keep all your tools in one box (where you can find them!) instead of spread out all over the garage. Stop asking yourself, “Now where did I put that SAS program/output/data set?”

  1. Susan, good news. In EG 4.2, look at Tools->Options->Results. Uncheck the option: “Show generated wrapper code in SAS log”.

    When you run your task/program, look at the log. The ugly (but necessary) code has practically vanished from view. Now you can get on with reading the *important* stuff in your SAS log.

  2. 1. Projects is the top one for me because I work on so many different tasks simultaneously that it really is difficult to keep straight. Plus, I can turn the whole thing over to the next person in one neat package.

    As for the data step, you can always open a program window and write a program. I do that 99% of the time I use EG. You are completely right, though, a data step thingy combined with query would be most helpful, because SO often I want to do something like compute repeatclient = 1 if lag(clientid) = clientid and 0 otherwise and it just is too cumbersome to do that with the queries. Hence my nearly constant program window.

    I’d add graphics to this list, also. The graphs in EG are SO-O-O much easier the SAS/Graph

  3. […] 2) Top 10 Reasons to Use SAS Enterprise Guide […]

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