Susan Slaughter

Archive for the ‘Enterprise Guide’ Category

The Little SAS Book 6.0: What’s New

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS on November 7, 2019 at 2:37 pm

Six editions is a lot! If you had told us, back when we wrote the first edition of The Little SAS Book, that someday we would write a sixth; we would have wondered how we could possibly find that much to say. After all, it is supposed to be The Little SAS Book, isn’t it? But the developers at SAS Institute are constantly hard at work inventing new and better ways of analyzing and visualizing data. And some of those ways turn out to be so fundamental that they belong even in a little book about SAS.

Interface independence

One of the biggest changes to SAS software in recent years is the proliferation of interfaces. SAS programmers have more choices than ever before. Previous editions contained some sections specific to the SAS windowing environment (also called Display Manager). We wrote this edition for all SAS programmers whether you use SAS Studio, SAS Enterprise Guide, the SAS windowing environment, or run in batch. That sounds easy, but it wasn’t. There are differences in how SAS behaves with different interfaces, and these differences can be very fundamental. In particular, the system option that sets the rules for names of variables varies depending on how you run SAS. So old sections had to be rewritten, and we added a whole new section showing how to use variable names containing blanks and special characters.

New ways to read and write Microsoft Excel files

Previous editions already covered how to read and write Microsoft Excel files, but SAS developers have created some great new ways. This edition contains new sections about the XLSX LIBNAME engine and the ODS EXCEL destination.


From the very first edition, The Little SAS Book always covered PROC SQL. But it was in an appendix and over time we noticed that most people ignore appendices. So for this edition, we removed the appendix and added new sections on using PROC SQL to

  • Subset your data
  • Join data sets
  • Add summary statistics to a data set
  • Create macro variables with the INTO clause

For people who are new to SQL, these sections provide a good introduction; for people who already know SQL, they provide a model of how to leverage SQL in your SAS programs.

Updates and additions throughout the book

Almost every section in this edition has been changed in some way. We added new options, made sure everything is up-to-date, and ran every example in every SAS interface noting any differences. For example, PROC SGPLOT has some new options, the default ODS style for PDF has changed, and the LISTING destination behaves differently in different interfaces. Here’s a short list, in no particular order, of new or expanded topics in the sixth edition:

  • More examples with permanent SAS data sets, CSV files, or tab-delimited files
  • More log notes throughout the book showing what to look for
  • LIKE or sounds-like (=*) operators in WHERE statements
  • Grouping data with a user-defined format and the PUT function
  • Iterative DO groups
  • DO WHILE and DO UNTIL statements
  • %DO statements

Even though we have added a lot to this edition, it is still a little book.  In fact, this edition is shorter than the last—by twelve pages! We think this is the best edition yet.

What’s Your SAS Interface?

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS on May 12, 2016 at 7:30 am

These days SAS programmers have more choices than ever before about how to run SAS.  They can use the old Display Manager interface, or SAS Enterprise Guide, or the new kid on the block: SAS StudioAll of these are included with Base SAS.


Display Manager / SAS Windowing Environment


SAS Enterprise Guide


SAS Studio

Once upon a time, the only choices were Display Manager (officially named the SAS windowing environment), or batch.  Then along came SAS Enterprise Guide.  (Ok, I know there were a few others, but I don’t count SAS/ASSIST which was rightly spurned by SAS users, or the Analyst application which was just a stopover on the highway to SAS Enterprise Guide.)

I recently asked a SAS user, “Which interface do you use for SAS programming?”

She replied, “Interface?  I just install SAS and use it.”

“You’re using Display Manager,” I explained, but she had no idea what I was talking about.

Trust me.  This person is an extremely sophisticated SAS user who does a lot of leading-edge mathematical programming, but she didn’t realize that Display Manager is not SAS.  It is just an interface to SAS.

This is where old timers like me have an advantage.  If you can remember running SAS in batch, then you know that Display Manager, SAS Enterprise Guide, and SAS Studio are just interfaces to SAS–wonderful, manna from heaven–but still just interfaces.  They are optional.  You could write SAS programs in Word or Notepad or some other editor, and submit them in batch–but why would you?  (I know someone is going to tell me that they do, in fact, do that, but the point is that it is not mainstream.  Only mega-nerds with the instincts of a true hacker do that these days.)

Each of these interfaces has advantages and disadvantages.  I’m not going to list them all here, because this is a blog not an encyclopedia, but the tweet would be

“DM is the simplest, EG has projects, SS runs in browsers.”

Personally, I think all of these interfaces are keepers.  At least for the near future, all three of these interfaces will continue to be used.  What we are seeing here is a proliferation of choices, not displacement of one with another.

So what’s your SAS interface?


Your Resume–Selling Yourself Using SAS

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, ODS Graphics, SAS, SAS Papers, Western Users of SAS Software on October 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

Now Appearing at Western Users of SAS Software 2013Here is another presentation to which I have contributed for the Western Users of SAS Software 2013 conference.

Your Resume–Selling Yourself Using SAS

I am honored to have served as a co-author with Rebecca Ottesen on this highly original paper.  This paper shows how to use your SAS skills to create a resume that is clever, unique, and effective.

Here is an excerpt:

Your resume should demonstrate strengths and skills, cite meaningful performance metrics, quantify contributions to the organization, and set you apart from the competition, all while being concise and staying to the point.  As a SAS user, it is likely that the skill set you would like to showcase involves programming and data analysis, so it seems perfectly natural that you should use these skills to create content for your resume.  A well thought out SAS graphic or table might be the perfect selling point to catch the attention of a hiring manager.

Here is an example of a graphic showing a timeline for work and academic experience:

Your Resume

If you are at the conference, I hope you will attend our presentation Wednesday November 13, 2013 2:30-2:50pm. If not, then you can download the paper here.

Writing Code in SAS Enterprise Guide

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS, SAS Papers, Western Users of SAS Software on October 3, 2013 at 7:04 am

Now Appearing at Western Users of SAS Software 2013With the Western Users of SAS Software 2013 conference coming soon, I am looking forward to being part of three presentations.  One of those presentations is

Writing Code in SAS Enterprise Guide

This is based on a paper written several years ago for SAS Enterprise Guide 4.1.  That paper became obsolete almost immediately.  So I’ve been wanting to update it for quite some time.  This new paper applies to Enterprise Guide 4.2, 4.3, 5.1 and 6.1.

Here’s an excerpt:

Using SAS Enterprise Guide, you can manipulate data and run reports without ever writing a single line of SAS code.  So it’s not surprising that many SAS programmers believe that SAS Enterprise Guide is only useful to non-programmers.  If you love the SAS language, why would you ever want to use SAS Enterprise Guide?

It turns out that there are several reasons why you might want to do just that.  SAS Enterprise Guide offers programmers a variety of ways to run code.  You can type a program like you do in Display Manager, but you can also use the point-and-click features of SAS Enterprise Guide to generate programs  that you can then modify.  In addition, SAS Enterprise Guide organizes your work into projects making it easy to find your programs, logs, and results; and the process flow diagrams show at a glance how everything in your project fits together.

However, writing programs in SAS Enterprise Guide does require learning a new environment with new windows and a new system for organizing your work.  As with any new skill, there is a learning curve.  The goal of this paper is to ease that transition by explaining SAS Enterprise Guide from a programmer’s perspective.

If you are at the conference, I hope you will attend my presentation Wednesday November 13, 2013 3:30-4:20pm. If not, then you can download the paper here.

And if you can’t attend my presentation, you may want to watch this video about coding with SAS Enterprise Guide.

Which Little SAS Book?

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, Little SAS Book Series, Publishing, SAS on May 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm

The Little SAS Book: A Primer, Fifth EditonOne of the problems that Lora Delwiche and I face as authors of two books with similar titles (The Little SAS Book and The Little SAS Book for Enterprise Guide) and multiple editions (five of LSB and three of LSBEG) is explaining how the books are different.

The two books are totally different–and complementary.

So I was delighted to see that someone at SAS Press has written a great summary comparing the various editions.

Did you know that the title The Little SAS Book was originally a joke? We explain that and give a little history on

Sunil’s Top 10 SAS Papers: Guest Blog by Sunil Gupta

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, Guest Blog, SAS, SAS Papers on February 18, 2011 at 10:59 am

Sunil's Top 10 SAS PapersI recently learned about an interesting resource for SAS users.  Sunil Gupta—a SAS Press author and consultant—maintains lists of his favorite SAS papers on various SAS-related topics.  You can peruse these lists on his page on

Here are some of Sunil’s Top 10s:

Sunil’s Top 10 PROC FORMAT/Functions Papers

Sunil’s Top 10 PROC COMPARE Papers

Sunil’s Top 10 SAS Macro Papers

Sunil’s Top 10 SAS Dictionary Tables Papers

Sunil’s Top 10 ODS Papers

Sunil’s Top 10 DATA Step/MERGE Papers

Sunil’s Top 10 SAS Certification Exam Papers

Sunil’s Top 10 SAS Enterprise Guide Papers

Sunil’s Top 10 Pharmaceutical Industry Papers

Save 30% on All SAS Publishing Titles

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS on December 8, 2010 at 11:56 am

Still looking for that perfect holiday gift?  For a limited time you can save 30% on all books from SAS Publishing. Most of these books are a little big for stocking stuffers, but they fit just fine under a tree.  This offer expires Dec. 13, 2010 so don’t delay. Click here for details.

WUSS and My 7 Minutes and 39 Seconds of Fame

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS, Western Users of SAS Software on November 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

I have just returned from another great Western Users of SAS Software conference.  Normally at this point I would write a summary of the conference, but this year I don’t have to.   Instead, you can hear my summary in this interview by Sy Truong of Meta-Xceed, Inc.

To hear all of Sy’s interviews at the conference, click here.

See You in San Diego

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, SAS, Western Users of SAS Software on November 1, 2010 at 10:03 am

Tomorrow I will head off to San Diego for the annual Western Users of SAS Software conference.  If you are going, please look for me.  At the conference, I will present a class and a hands-on workshop.

Half-day Class:
Introduction to SAS Enterprise Guide
Wednesday November 3, 8:30-11:30 AM
There is a charge for this class so you must be signed up to attend.

Hands-On Workshop
Introduction to Summary Tables in SAS Enterprise Guide
Thursday November 4, 5:00-6:30 PM
This presentation is part of the regular conference so there is no extra charge.  You can download the paper and data set.

Adventures in SAS Installations

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, SAS on October 25, 2010 at 11:26 am

Installing SAS 9.2 TS2M3 on four computers running two operating systems took six days and one tracking number.  Not bad, not bad at all considering my experiences with other recent releases.

When Enterprise Guide 4.3 was released at the end of August, I was eager to try out the new features for programmers.  The only problem was that in order to run EG 4.3, I needed to reinstall SAS.  (SAS 9.2 TS2M3 is recommended for people running EG 4.3 as explained by Chris Hemedinger.)  I’ve installed SAS countless times over the years, and generally speaking it hasn’t been any more complicated than following the install wizard’s instructions to insert each disk in a seemingly random (or at least inscrutable) order.

However, when I attempted to install SAS 9.2 TS1M0 in May 2008 it took a full two months–and that was with the active help of SAS Technical Support.  In defense of SAS, I should mention that the problems I experienced in 2008 were related to the fact that I had been running a beta version of SAS 9.2.  Betas often conflict with their own production versions, so this was not remarkable.  What was rather surprising was the fact that uninstalling the beta version didn’t fix the problem, and the problem was that the install wizard refused even to open.  It took the good people of SAS Technical Support two months to find the magic option that would convince Windows to launch the installer.   This created a desperate situation forcing me to reinstall the beta version so that critical deadlines could be met.

Installing SAS 9.2 TS2M0 in May 2009 proved even more difficult, again taking two months, this time with intense help from SAS Technical Support.  And this time I wasn’t alone as I eventually  heard from other SAS users.  One common problem involved missing Java components that caused certain features in EG not to work, but the bigger, more general problem was that the installation process was so confusing that many people installed SAS wrong without having a clue that they had done anything wrong.

This time around I was determined to install SAS on my own—if possible.

Computer No. One

The first computer I tried was a laptop with a previous version of SAS installed on it.  I popped in the first DVD and was informed that the Deployment Manager could not start because SAS was already running.  The Deployment Manager was objecting to processes like the SAS Object Spawner that had been set up to start automatically on this computer. The obvious thing to do was to open the Windows Task Manager and kill those processes.  But since I wasn’t the person who had set up those processes, I wasn’t entirely comfortable doing that.  So I called SAS Technical Support where the helpful person told me to open the Windows Task Manager and kill those processes.  He then walked me through the initial steps which seemed pretty logical, and then I continued the installation on my own.  This installation took two days, but only because of the lag involved in contacting Technical Support and waiting for a response.

Computer No. Two

The second computer was running Windows 7 64-bit and already had SAS 9.2 TS2M3 installed on it, but it did not have EG 4.3. I mentioned this to the person at Technical Support, and he said that I ought to be able to use my DVDs with the Windows 32-bit software to install EG 4.3 because EG 4.3 runs as 32-bit software even on 64-bit operating systems.  With that bit of encouragement, I popped my DVD into the second computer and waited…and waited…and waited.  I was sure something was wrong…but I waited.  Finally the Deployment Manager came back and announced that it had one thing to install on that computer: EG 4.3.  Computers are famous for doing what you tell them to do, not what you want, but here was the Deployment Manager seemingly reading my mind. Total time for installation: about fifteen minutes of waiting, and five minutes to install the software.

Computer No. Three

The third computer was the only “virgin” that did not have SAS software previously installed.  You might have expected that to make this installation easier than the others.  However, the first thing the SAS install wizard did was say that it needed to update some Windows stuff and then reboot.  It did indeed reboot the computer, but it failed to restart the install wizard. I sat in front of the computer for about fifteen minutes expecting it to restart the install wizard as soon as it was ready.  When I finally realized it was never going to do that, then I manually restarted the installation process which proceeded smoothly enough on SAS’s end.  Unfortunately, the disk copying software on the computer objected strenuously to the DVDs from SAS Institute.  Problems reading the disks were enormously frustrating and doubled the amount of time needed to install the software, but it was still completed in a few hours.

Computer No. Four

The fourth computer was an older laptop with an old version of SAS installed on it.  I popped in the first DVD, but the computer could not read it.  This drive reads other DVDs without problem, but there was something about that particular DVD that just didn’t work.  Since it was impossible to install SAS from the DVDs, the work around was to create a SAS software depot on an external hard drive, and then install from the external drive.  This was time consuming as it required finding a suitable drive and them making the depot. Once the depot was created, the installation went normally.  However, while I was out of the room, my helper chose the default install.  When the installation was done, I discovered that EG had not been installed.  By default, the install wizard will update the SAS products that you already have installed.  This seems like a reasonable thing for SAS to do, but in this case I specifically wanted EG 4.3 to be installed and that didn’t happen.  I had to start over and reinstall SAS using a custom install.  Due to the various hardware and software problems, this install process took two days.


I ran into some problems, but this release is a winner.  If you haven’t already installed SAS 9.2 TS2M3 and EG 4.3, you’ll probably want to check it out.

Just be aware that by default the installer will update only the products you have currently installed.  So if you want to add something that you haven’t installed before—perhaps EG 4.3 or the ODS Graphics Editor—then you’ll need to choose the custom install and select those products.