Using ODS Graphics Designer with SAS Enterprise Guide 4.3


The ODS Graphics Designer allows you to design and build your own statistical graphs in SAS, without having to learn how to program in the new graph template language (GTL). The ODS Graphics Designer is a rich user interface that allows you to design these graphs based upon your own data, and then save those designs as graph definitions that you can "replay" in a SAS program later.
For more information about the ODS Graphics Designer and the incredible graphs that you can create by using it, see this SAS Global Forum paper by Sanjay Matange.

In SAS 9.2, ODS Graphics Designer is installed only with SAS/GRAPH in your SAS environment, so it can be run only on a machine that has SAS installed. But while the designer application can be run only with a local SAS installation, the graph definitions that you create can be replayed in any SAS session, local or remote. You can even render these graphs within SAS stored processes.

We often receive requests to make it easier to access the power of the ODS Graphics Designer from within SAS Enterprise Guide. To support this request, we’ve created a series of custom tasks that allow you to:

  1. Launch the ODS Graphics Designer from within SAS Enterprise Guide, if you have SAS and SAS/GRAPH installed on the same machine with SAS Enterprise Guide.
  2. Replay the graph definitions (SGD files) that you can create with the ODS Graphics Designer. This requires only the SGD files you created and appropriate data to render the graph, plus access to a SAS session, local or remote.

You can download the task from this location. The custom tasks are included within a single DLL inside a ZIP file. The ZIP archive also contains documentation for how to install and use the tasks. (Note: you do not need administrative privileges on your PC to install a custom task! You can drop it into your user profile area on Windows, and SAS Enterprise Guide automatically detects it. See the PDF documentation with the download for details.)

The features offered by these custom tasks are likely to appear in future versions of SAS Enterprise Guide. If you try it and like it, provide feedback in the comments. If you think of ways to improve the tasks, tell us that as well.


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. Rick Wicklin on

    For the sake of those who haven't used the ODS Graphics Designer, I'll add that the power of the ODS Graphics Designer goes beyond creating simple graphs. You can create most simple graphs with the SGPLOT procedure. For me, the power is that it enables me to layout a complex grid of graphs. If you know how to create each individual graph, but want to assemble them into a single layout (similar to Chris's example with a scatter plot and two histograms), then the ODS Graphics Designer will save you considerable time. It is also a good learning tool, since it enables you to see the GTL code that underlies the layout.

  2. Is there a way to (natively) invoke SG Designer - or do we add this custom task to 5.1 as well?

  3. Hi Chris,

    This is really helpful, thanks. I assume that with EG 5.1 there is still the requirement for SAS to be installed on the same machine as EG? As for SAS/GRAPH I assume this would be required if running SAS 9.2, but not if running SAS 9.3 (as ODS Graphics has moved into Base SAS).


    P.S. Great job at Global Forum, I enjoyed watching the live stream from the UK :o)

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on


      Thanks for the kind words about the Livestream sessions; it was great fun. I hope to see you in person at SASPROFS in July.

      Yes, the Designer app needs local SAS. But you're correct: you don't need SAS/GRAPH for this with 9.3, as all of the ODS Graphics tech is included in Base, including this app.

  4. Pingback: Custom tasks for SAS Enterprise Guide: Q&A - The SAS Dummy

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