This Doesn't Make "Cents" -- A Question about Formatting

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Recently, I was asked about a formatting situation where the DOLLAR8.2 format was specified on the data column, but the cents on the axis showed showed just one digit instead of the two requested by the format.

Figure 1. The Y axis has only one decimal place for cents

data example;
input time money;
datalines;
1 1
2 1.5
3 2
4 1.7
;
run;
 
proc sgplot data=example;
format money dollar8.2;
series y=money x=time / datalabel markerattrs=(symbol=circlefilled size=13px)
lineattrs=(thickness=3px) markers;
yaxis values=(0 to 2.5 by .5);
run;

For linear axes, the algorithm used to determine good tick values also determines the number of decimal places, using the tick value with the most significant digits as the basis for all tick values. In this case, there was only one significant decimal place, so the second zero does no appear in any tick value.

Fortunately, there is a solution. On the axis statements of the SG procedures, there is an option called VALUESFORMAT that gives you the ability to assign a SAS format directly to the axis (for GTL users, see the TICKVALUEFORMAT option).

data example;
input time money;
datalines;
1 1
2 1.5
3 2
4 1.7
;
run;
 
proc sgplot data=example;
format money dollar8.2;
series y=money x=time / datalabel markerattrs=(symbol=circlefilled size=13px)
lineattrs=(thickness=3px) markers;
yaxis values=(0 to 2.5 by .5) valuesformat=dollar8.2;
run;

Figure 2. Formatting directly on the Y axis using VALUESFORMAT

The FORMAT statement is still needed in this example to correctly format other features in this plot, such data labels and data tips. The VALUESFORMAT option affects only the axis tick values.

The VALUESFORMAT option must be used carefully. The option only affects the formatting of resulting tick values -- it cannot be used to create ranges for aggregations like you can with normal format usage. For that situation, you must specify the format in the data step or the FORMAT statement. That being said, you can use a custom character format to modify the tick value string displayed for a range. For example, suppose you create a custom range format for your data, and you want the table to show the ranges but the graph to show alternate terms. You can use VALUESFORMAT to modify the strings from the range format.

Figure 3. Range labels formatted to different terms

proc format;
value agefmt 0-39 = "0-39"
             40-100 = "40-100"
;
value $agelabel "0-39"="Younger"
               "40-100"="Older"
;
run;
 
proc sgplot data=sashelp.heart;
format ageatstart agefmt.;
xaxis valuesformat=$agelabel.;
vbar ageatstart / response=cholesterol stat=mean;
run;

The main thing to remember here is that you should use only non-aggregating formats with the VALUESFORMAT option, i.e. formats that have one value to one label associations. Otherwise, you could get unpredictable results.

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About Author

Dan Heath

Principal Systems Developer

Dan Heath is a principal systems developer at SAS Institute. A SAS user for more than 24 years, Dan specializes in SAS/GRAPH software, ODS Graphics, and related graphing technologies. Dan has been a speaker at a number of regional and local users' group meetings, including SAS Global Forum, PharmaSUG, and WUSS. He received a BS degree in computer science from North Carolina State University.

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