A SAS options viewer for SAS Enterprise Guide

On the heels of the release of the popular SAS macro variable viewer from last month, I'm providing another custom task that I hope will prove just as useful. This one is a SAS options viewer, similar in concept to the OPTIONS window in SAS display manager.

You can download the new task from this location. (The download is a ZIP file with a DLL and a README.pdf that explains how to install it. In fact, it's the same download package as the macro viewer task; I've packaged them both in the same DLL, so if you install one, you get them both. You're welcome! Both tasks require SAS Enterprise Guide 4.3, with a SAS 9.2 or 9.3 environment.)

If you've tried the macro variable viewer, then the user interface for the Options viewer will look familiar. It shares many of the same features: the window "floats" as a toolbox window so you can keep working while it's visible, you can filter the results (important, given the hundreds of options!), you can view options as a straight list or grouped by category. In addition, there are important features specific to SAS options, such as the ability to see details about how each option was set and where it is valid. Here is the complete set of features:

Always-visible window: Once you open the task from the Tools menu, you can leave it open for your entire SAS Enterprise Guide session. The window uses a "modeless" display, so you can still interact with other SAS Enterprise Guide features while the window is visible. This makes it easy to switch between SAS programs and other SAS Enterprise Guide windows and the options viewer to see results.

Select active SAS server: If your SAS environment contains multiple SAS workspace connections, you can switch among the different servers to see options values on multiple systems.

One-click refresh: Refresh the list of option values by clicking on the Refresh button in the toolbar.

View by group or as a straight list: View the option values in their group categories (for example, MEMORY, GRAPHICS, EMAIL, etc.) or as a straight list, sorted by option name or current value. Click on the column headers to sort the list.

Set window transparency: You can make the window appear "see-through" so that it doesn't completely obscure your other windows as you work with it.

Filter results: Type a string of characters in the "Filter results" field, and the list of options will be instantly filtered to those that contain the sequence that you type. The filtered results will match on option names as well as values, and the search is case-insensitive. This is a convenient way to narrow the list to just a few options that you're interested in. To clear the filter, click on the X button next to the "Filter results" field, or "blank out" the text field.

Show option details: The "About" pane at the bottom of the window shows details about the currently selected option, including the current value, its value at session startup (SAS 9.3 only), where the option can be set (in OPTIONS statement or startup) and how the current value was set. You can show or hide this pane by clicking a toggle button at the top of the window.

I can imagine several more features that might be useful, but I decided that these were enough for a first version. Try it out and leave feedback for me in the comments here. (That worked pretty well with the macro viewer task; in fact, this options viewer was one of your suggestions!)

See also:

tags: SAS custom tasks, SAS Enterprise Guide, SAS options, SAS programming


  1. mathan
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    i'm new to the SAS Tool.
    I need to execute some SAS macro in SAS Environment using c# windows application and need to get the output from it. (like SAS Enterprise Guide Automation using C#)
    Can any one tell me how to start.

    SAS Environment is in server.
    C# Window Application need to developed in local Machine.

  2. Peter
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    This is great!
    not only providing the "Current value", but also the source of the value, as well as the "startup value" .

    Only way I could think to improve this would be adding a link to the online-doc for the system option ;-)
    except, just checking, some options like LOGNOTE1 are not present.
    There is a classing of options that do not appear: host, "Portable" and Internal.

    • Chris Hemedinger Chris Hemedinger
      Posted January 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the comments, Peter. I did consider the online doc link, and might add that at some point. The HOST/PORTABLE distinction is probably not as useful to users as it once was (most options are PORTABLE in name but some have HOST-specific nuances).

  3. C Davis
    Posted August 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    This is very easily done in Display Manager. A simple macro assign to a function key.
    Now in EG - Click, click click .... waste of time!!

    • Chris Hemedinger Chris Hemedinger
      Posted August 6, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      I built this task because I recognized that many EG users missed the easy access to the OPTIONS window, which is accessible from a simple command in Display Manager, as you point out. I tried to improve the experience a bit though, by making the Options list very easy to search, and to provide a richer set of information (how the option was set, for example). I hope that you'll agree that the Macro Variable Viewer task is even more useful, and it doesn't have a direct analogy in SAS Display Manager.

      • c davis
        Posted August 11, 2012 at 3:07 am | Permalink

        Hi Chris

        That is fine. But why take away functionalities such as the Display Manager and functions keys!!! where these kind of things can easily be done in a SAS macro then assiged to a function key etc.


        • Chris Hemedinger Chris Hemedinger
          Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          True, display manager makes it convenient to map keys to any function. Just a reminder that nothing is taken away, Display Manager continues to work. This post is about adding something new to SAS Enterprise Guide.

6 Trackbacks

  1. [...] UPDATE 16Dec2011: The download package for this task now also includes a SAS Options viewer task, described on this separate blog post. [...]

  2. [...] SAS System Options Viewer [...]

  3. [...] SAS Options Viewer - a SAS Enterprise Guide version of the OPTIONS window, showing the current values for all of your SAS system options. [...]

  4. [...] SAS System Options Viewer Just like the OPTIONS window in traditional SAS, but better! This window shows all of the SAS system options and their current values, plus information about how the values were set. It also provides a filter field for easy searching. Download: See this blog post for more information and download link. [...]

  5. […] SAS macro variables and their values, plus allows a quick method to evaluate macro expressions. The system options viewer shows all of the SAS options, with their values and meanings. Thanks to the popularity of the […]

  6. […] New tasks to show active macro variables and SAS system options […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>