SAS alchemy: turn your SAS Report into PDF gold


Let's say you use SAS Report format, the latest tagset supported by ODS. After all, it's the lingua franca of SAS BI applications, since it's also used by SAS Web Report Studio, SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office, and SAS Enterprise Guide.

You've discovered how to use the report builder in SAS Enterprise Guide to combine your results from multiple tasks and programs, and arrange output however you want (including side-by-side tables and charts). You add your own text objects and images, and control the format of the page. You use point-and-click and drag-and-drop to create report layouts that previously would have taken you days to program.

Now, how can you share your SAS Report results, a format propietary to SAS, with your colleagues?
It's easy. You transform it to PDF, a document format that just about anyone can view with a free reader application.

There is no built in "save as PDF" function within SAS Enterprise Guide. [UPDATE: since this original post, the Save-to-PDF feature was added to version 4.2 and later.] But you can save this report, or any document that you can print, as PDF with a simple PDF printer application. I use FreePDF (easy to use if you can get beyond the German-language download page). There are many similar tools out there, including the professional-grade Adobe Acrobat and in-between tools like PDFill.

These tools make it simple. You print your document, and instead of selecting your departmental printer that sits down the hallway, you select the "virtual" PDF printer installed by one of these PDF tools. This directs your output to a PDF file, which you can easily share.

(As an aside, I also use FreePDF as a personal productivity tool. Have you ever bought something on a web site or made a reservation or performed any transaction that results in a web page that says "please print this page for your records"? Instead of wasting a sheet of paper that would just end up lost, I print the page to a PDF file. It makes the receipt easy to find and easy to "throw out" later -- no shredding required.)


About Author

Chris Hemedinger

Director, SAS User Engagement

+Chris Hemedinger is the Director of SAS User Engagement, which includes our SAS Communities and SAS User Groups. Since 1993, Chris has worked for SAS as an author, a software developer, an R&D manager and a consultant. Inexplicably, Chris is still coasting on the limited fame he earned as an author of SAS For Dummies


  1. Other PDF printers include CutePDF and PDFCreater (which is open source). I do the exact same thing when I need to print electronic payment confirmations or invoices.

    On another note, I have recently discovered the SAS Report functionality in Enterprise Guide. I like it, but one thing that is missing is that you can't use parameters in the report header or footer. So although you can make all of your report output depend on a user defined parameter at run time, your report header can't print the name of the parameter anywhere.

    I went to great lengths to get around this and came up with a pretty interesting solution. I am currently working on tutorial so others can benefit.

  2. Hi Jared,

    I would be interested in knowing how you got around this problem???? I am looking to put parameters into the heading of the report....

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