Susan Slaughter

Archive for May, 2015|Monthly archive page

Now Starring Susan and Lora in “SGPLOT and SGPANEL Procedures”

In Everything, Little SAS Book Series, ODS Graphics, SAS, SAS Global Forum on May 29, 2015 at 10:14 am

SAS Global Forum logoODS Graphics is not exactly new.  It became production with SAS 9.2 back around 2008, and before then it existed in a pre-production form at least as early as 2003.  So you would think that by now everyone who uses SAS would be using ODS Graphics, but apparently this is not the case.

It has come to my attention that some long-time SAS users still use PROC CHART–not even PROC GCHART, but PROC CHART which was designed for line printers back in the 1970s and creates graphs using alphanumeric characters!  Here is an example of a bar chart created using PROC CHART:


There is no excuse for this (unless, of course, you are trying to create a hip, retro vibe).  ODS Graphics is easy to use and produces beautiful graphs.  Here is the same bar chart created using PROC SGPLOT:


Now, if you are one of those people who uses SAS/Graph and PROC GCHART, and you are able to get the results you want, then that’s great.  I would never tell a SAS/Graph user to switch to ODS Graphics.  But for most people SAS/Graph is just too hard to use.  That’s why the developers at SAS created ODS Graphics: for the rest of us.  Just to prove that PROC SGPLOT is not any harder than PROC CHART, here is the code I used to create the two preceding bar charts:

PROC CHART DATA = olympics;
VBAR Region / SUBGROUP = PopGroup;

PROC SGPLOT DATA = olympics;
VBAR Region / GROUP = PopGroup;

If you are one of those people who still hasn’t learned ODS Graphics (or if you are new to SAS and want to get off on the right foot), this is your big chance.  At the recent SAS Global Forum conference, Lora Delwiche and I presented our paper “Graphing Made Easy with SGPLOT and SGPANEL Procedures.”  You can view that presentation.  Give us 50 minutes of your time, and we will convince you that ODS Graphics is easy (and maybe even fun) to use.  We start with a general introduction so you understand how the SGPLOT and SGPANEL procedures fit into the larger world of ODS Graphics, then we show how to create different types of graphs and how to customize them.

To watch our presentation, click here.

To download a copy of our paper, click here.

A lot of other great presentations were recorded at SGF too.  To see the full list, click here.

Happy graphing!


Sending Text Messages from SAS

In Everything, SAS Global Forum, SAS Papers on May 18, 2015 at 6:58 am

SAS Global Forum logo For me, a major highlight of SAS Global Forum 2015 was seeing Matthew Slaughter’s presentation, Sending Text Messages from SAS.  You may have noticed that his name is similar to mine.  This is not a coincidence as he is my son.  However, this paper was his idea.  He researched the topic on his own, and wrote the paper by himself.  In his presentation, he described two ways to send text message from SAS.  The first uses a FILENAME statement and DATA _NULL_ to send a text message via the email-to-SMS gateway.  The second uses an X command to send a text message via Amazon’s Simple Notification Service.  To download his paper click here.

SAS Certification on a Budget

In Everything, SAS, SAS certification, SAS Global Forum, SAS Papers on May 8, 2015 at 7:59 am

SAS Global Forum logo I recently returned from SAS Global Forum where Andra Northup and I presented an updated and expanded version of our paper “SAS Certification as a Tool for Professional Development.”  You can read our paper here.

SAS certification has been around for a while.  The first SAS certification exam was offered way back in 1999.  So it’s fascinating to me that the program is currently growing in leaps and bounds.  Over 80,000 SAS certification credentials have been awarded and 13,383 of those were in 2014 alone.  The SAS certification program has experienced double-digit growth for the last five years.  I have a suspicion that technical certifications are growing in popularity in general, and that SAS’s certification program is riding that wave.  Over the last six months, I have begun to see job postings specifically asking for Base SAS certification.  This is totally new!  Of course, certification alone is not enough to get you hired or promoted as a SAS programmer, but it can help.

Unfortunately, preparing for certification can be expensive.  SAS Institute offers a Base Programming Certification Package.  This package includes four courses, a practice exam, and an exam voucher; and comes with a 40% discount that brings the total price down to $2,995.  Despite the hefty discount, this package is still out of reach for many people.  Fortunately, there are less expensive ways to prepare.  In fact, many excellent ways to prepare for certification are low in cost or even free!  With that in mind, I propose the

Build-Your-Own Base Programming Certification Package

Mix and match the following items to create a custom package to fit your budget:

$1,300-2,000 Instructor-based “Classroom” and “Live Web” classes
$1,100 SAS Certification Review: Base Programming class (both “Classroom” and “Live Web”)
$750-1,250 Online Self-Paced e-Learning classes
$150 Certification Prep Guides, Base or Advanced
$100 Course notes from classes offered by SAS Institute
$55 Online practice exam, Base, Advanced or Predictive Modeler (good for six months)
$50-75 Other books such as The Little SAS Book
FREE SAS University Edition software
FREE SAS Programming 1: Essentials online Self-Paced e-Learning course
FREE Statistics 1: Introduction to ANOVA, Regression, and Logistic Regression Self-Paced e-Learning course
FREE List of exam topics on
FREE Sample questions on
FREE Blogs

For more advice about how to prepare for, register for and take SAS certification exams, see our paper.  We wish you the best of luck!