Choose your own adventure with SAS OnDemand for Professionals


Update on 30May2014 from Stacie Miller, SAS Education:

I wanted to share some exciting news with you. A free learning version of SAS, SAS University Edition, is now available globally for academic and adult learners. Download your copy today.

With the release of SAS University Edition, we have retired SAS OnDemand for Professionals and it is no longer for sale. Existing customer support details can be found here.

We hope you are excited about the SAS University Edition news as we are. Please share it with your colleagues and friends. Note that you do not need to be an enrolled student in order to use this! Anyone can use SAS University Edition to learn SAS skills, as long as the tool isn't used for commercial purposes. (See Terms of Use when you install the software.)

Original post
In the past, getting your hands on SAS for learning purposes required one of two fortunate situations:

  • being a student enrolled in a college course (or high school!) where SAS is taught
  • working for an employer who is willing to sponsor your training, either in an official course or on-the-job.

Now, there is an affordable way for professionals to get hands-on access to SAS for a reasonable price: SAS OnDemand for Professionals: Enterprise Guide (in the USA and Canada only, for now).

This new SAS OnDemand offering complements the SAS OnDemand for Academics offering that has evolved over the past few years.  It's SAS, running on "the cloud", and you use a supplied version of SAS Enterprise Guide to access it (along with a good collection of sample data).  With SAS Enterprise Guide you can exercise most of the SAS features that you would need to practice for any career objective: learn SAS programming, hone your skills in business analytics, or use high-end statistical methods to analyze data.


  • If you want to learn how to use SAS to query and transform data, calculate summary statistics, build graphs, create reports, and dabble in higher-end analytics -- but you don't want to have to write or understand programming code...continue on to the immediately following section, "Learning SAS without programming".
  • If you want to learn how to program in SAS, using DATA step, SAS macro language, SAS procedures and more, and you don't want to be held back by a point-and-click interface...skip this next section and go directly to read "Programming SAS with SAS Enterprise Guide".

Learning SAS without programming

SAS Enterprise Guide is often positioned as "the point-and-click interface to SAS".  Many of us were raised on the idea that "using SAS requires programming".  But it doesn't.  SAS Enterprise Guide has over 90 built-in tasks for accessing data, summarizing data, creating reports, and performing statistical analysis.

There are many popular books and training courses that show you how to get to the power of SAS without having to learn the syntax of SAS.  For example, we have books like SAS For Dummies, Little SAS Book for Enterprise Guide, and Basic Statistics using SAS Enterprise Guide: A Primer.  And there is a whole boatload of training courses on the topic.

If you've read some of the SAS Enterprise Guide tips that I've published on this blog and want to try them out, you can probably can do it with SAS OnDemand.

NOTE: If you don't want to know anything about SAS programming, skip the next section and read "SAS OnDemand for Professionals: Learn what you want, how you want"

Programming SAS with SAS Enterprise Guide

So, you're a SAS programmer?  Or you want to be one?  Perhaps you're pursuing a SAS programming certification?  With SAS Enterprise Guide, you can skip the point-and-click stuff and jump right into programming with File->New->Program.  If you've read some of the SAS programming tips that I've published on this blog, you can try them for yourself using the SAS OnDemand environment.

For some experienced SAS programmers, SAS Enterprise Guide presents a different SAS environment than what you're accustomed to.  But you can accomplish most programming tasks here, and might even find yourself more productive with the super program editor and the process flow approach for organizing your code.

You can learn more about programmer productivity in SAS Enterprise Guide by watching this SAS Talks webinar.  Or if you really want a leg up, take the course.

SAS OnDemand for Professionals: Learn what you want, how you want

Regardless of your path -- point-and-click, SAS programming, or a mix of each -- SAS OnDemand for Professionals: Enterprise Guide provides a good learning environment to gain and practice your SAS skills.

But the learning resources don't stop there.  You can use these blogs, discussion forums, and the entire SAS community to supplement your knowledge as you learn.  SAS professionals love to share their knowledge.  And you'll be proud to share what you know too, when you join their ranks.


About Author

Chris Hemedinger

Senior Manager, SAS Online Communities

+Chris Hemedinger is the manager of SAS Online Communities. 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
He also hosts the SAS Tech Talk webcasts each year from SAS Global Forum, connecting viewers with smart people from SAS R&D and the impressive work that they do.

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  1. I've been programming in SAS since 1980. I was basicall self-taught but later attended SAS Institute classes and was credentialed in Base and Advanced SAS. I have been a contractor since 1989 and worked many places in many industries with many different SAS configurations. I have to admit - sorry to say - that I am a died-in-the-wool programmer and, at first, considered EG and EM to be "SAS for dummies" because it was drag-and-drop - the sort of application I had been developing in SAS/AF for years. I have since become a little more tolerant and, perhaps if I had the opportunity to work in EG more extensively I could even change my mind.

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Jerry, thanks for the comment. I've met many long-time SAS programmers with similar stories.

      The new OnDemand offering (software + supporting resources) is an affordable way to freshen your skills, and perhaps prepare for contract engagements at clients where SAS Enterprise Guide is the only gateway to SAS resources. You use your programming skills, but in a different environment.

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Great to hear that you'll try it out. Regarding the external data, I'll ask... But, I expect that 3rd party data sources such as this will not be added in the near future.

      Of course, you can add your own small data sources in a WORK session by using the SAS program editor and DATA step with DATALINES/CARDS (good way to practice your skills). The baseball data that you cite looks like it might be too large/complex to manage using that mechanism though.

      • Thanks Chris for your very helpful reply. It never occured to me that we could create temporary datasets with our own data (that isn't too large or complex as said) which is a plus that I hadn't considered.

  2. I heard about "SAS on Demand" from a friend in France who is wondering if he could order the software from France with my address (in Montreal) and get the software delivered to me so that I send it back to him (more quickly).

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Koffi, there is nothing to "deliver"!

      SAS OnDemand is hosted in "the cloud" on SAS-provided servers. An end-user would download the client software (quick download and install) to begin using it, once registered and purchased.

      However, the SAS OnDemand for Professionals offering is currently available only in the US and Canada. It can not yet serve customers working from France.


      • Thank you.
        I get the answer. I think he needs to know that the software can not yet serve customers working from France. I will try to figure out what to do in that case.

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  5. Emmanuel Kiberu on

    What path do i need to take to become SAS certified.? Is Programming a prerequisite analysis? I enjoy analysing data and I want to take it further by getting a recognised certification.


  6. I'm using the SAS Certified prep guide book published by SAS to prep me for the BASE 9 exam (A00-211). Will the data sets/sample data used in the software be the same ones featured in the books?..

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Sam, I'm going to guess "yes", since the OnDemand offering is "stocked" with sample data sets. However, I will follow-up with someone on the education team to verify this.

      • Stacie Miller on

        Sam, I work in SAS Education on the SAS OnDemand for Professionals product and Chris is correct. The same datasets that are featured in the SAS base and advanced certification prep guides are available through the software product. Thanks for posting your question!

        • Hi Stacie,

          I am wondering whether I can use my own datasets (of small size) and text/Excel files (for importing into EG), or will I only be limited to the sample sets provided on the SAS server?

          Thank you,

          • Hi Moses.

            Because SAS OnDemand for Professionals is designed for learning purposes, it comes with a broad collection of sample data and programs from SAS’ most popular courses and books. It does not include the ability to upload or import data. Chris mentioned in his post to Heaton that you can add your own small data sources in a WORK session by using the SAS program editor and DATA step with DATALINES/CARDS. That might work for you. My recommendation would be to use the data and programs that are provided as they’ve been tested to work with the software.

            Thank you,

  7. Hi Chris
    I am planning to learn SAS and hope to work as a marketing analyst. I have 2 questions
    1) I am not sure I should be doing the SAS programming 1 essentials certification or learn Enterprise guide? I don't mind programming but will prefer a point & click mouse environment. My question is which one should I choose? Can an enterprise guide user do everything that a SAS programmer does?
    2) When will SAS on demand for professionals be available in Australia?

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on


      These are excellent questions.

      Learning your way around SAS Enterprise Guide is a good thing, because it introduces you to the many features of SAS and analytics without burdening you with a programming language. However, if you want to pursue certification, you will have to learn the basics of SAS programming. You can achieve all of this (SAS concepts and SAS programming) using SAS Enterprise Guide. The Enterprise Guide UI doesn't cover everything that the SAS language can do, so it pays to be comfortable with the "program" window.

      As far as availability in Australia (or anywhere outside the USA and Canada), you should check with your local SAS office. I know that work and testing is ongoing, but I'm not sure of the timing. I will ask a SAS Education rep to review and respond as well.

  8. I wish SAS could add the miner into OnDemand for Professional so that I may use it to prepare for the data mining certification.

      • Wow, this is a great news! Thank you, Chris.
        So, once it gets released, shall we pay extra for it outside of current OnDemand Professional?

        • Chris Hemedinger
          Chris Hemedinger on

          I don't know all of the details yet, and they may still be subject to change. You may indicate your interest by using the link that I provided, and then you should be among the first to know when the offering is available.

  9. I recently took Prog I via Live Web. I'd like to practice with those same data sets a bit more from home. If I sign up for On Demand for Professionals would I be able to access the same data sets that I used in Prog I via Live Web?

    Also, would I be able to use On Demand on a Parallels desktop application (i.e., a Mac running windows)?

    • Stacie Miller on

      Hi Maryellen,

      Chris shared your post with me so that I could reply. I apologize for the delay.

      Yes, the SAS Programming 1: Essentials datasets on the SAS OnDemand for Professionals server are the same ones used in your Live Web class. Please note that the program files used in your Live Web class, were provided to you in an Extended Learning e-mail that you should have received after class. If you want to use the programs, you will need to activate your Extended Learning and download them to your local drive to use in SAS OnDemand for Professionals. There is a pdf with instructions on all of this in the PRG1 course folder on the SAS OnDemand for Professionals server.

      That's a great question about running SAS OnDemand for Professionals on a Macintosh. SAS OnDemand for Professionals: Enterprise Guide are not tested or supported in that environment due to the fact that SAS Enterprise Guide is not. However, we have had a few customers who have tried it out using Parallels with success. If you'd like to purchase a license and try that out, we can always refund your money and cancel your license, if it doesn't work for you. The only downside is that SAS does not have technical support resources to address Macintosh issues that might arise along the way.

      I hope that helps.

  10. Hey Chris,
    This is exciting. Love to play with Pro Football stats and it would be great to have this on my personal PC.
    Does this version have limits as to the number of observations or variables as did the old Learning Version?

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Tom, there isn't a data size limitation that I know of. However, as the environment is meant mostly for learning purposes, you are limited to the collection of sample data sets (there are many that go along with SAS courses) and what you can submit via the Program window (in DATALINES for example).

  11. It sounds like you can sign up for SAS OnDemand without taking any training classes. If you took one a long time ago, is there any limitation based on how long ago you attended a SAS class to be able to use the datasets from the training classes? It has been a while since I took programming 1 but am scheduled to take 2 and 3. Will I be able to access 1 because I am taking the follow on classes or will I have to begin with the new classes?

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Joe, I think that most of the data sets that are used within the popular courses are available within the OnDemand environment. If there is a sample data set that you need but cannot find, you could ask the support staff to consider adding it.

  12. What is the major difference between SAS OnDemand for Professionals and SAS OnDemenad for Academics? The literature makes them sound like they are the mostly the same. What are the differences that would make one more suitable than the other for a particular audience/user?

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      The Academics offering is for professors (usually college-level) and their students. Professors have control over what data is provided for a given course, and they can provide their own data to support their courses. It's free to use for registered professors and for their students who enroll in the courses.

      The Professionals offering includes SAS-provided sample data (but lots of it), and the license is a subscription model.

      You get SAS Enterprise Guide with both, but there are a few capabilities that are different in each version. These differences are subtle and mostly to do with the administration of terms of use for each environment.

  13. I understand that SAS OnDemand for Professionals is only available in the US and Canada. I'm a contractor bouncing back and forward from the US and Afghanistan. If would be correct for me to say I wouldn't be able to access the service from Afghanistan even though I originally established access in the US.

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      William, thanks for trying the offering! I hope that it's a rewarding experience.

      I think that you're correct. You would be able to use it in the USA, but if logging in from another country it probably would not work (unless your Internet connection was shown as "originating" from the USA, and even then the latency might not be acceptable). But for further clarification on your particular situation, you could send a detailed e-mail to

  14. I am using SAS on Demand to teach my students. I wan to use my own data for teaching statistical data analysis methods. For this I need to upload my data on SAS server which is quite cumbersome and some time times it becomes difficult to teach certain aspects if data is downloaded in advance.

    Is there a way to upload or use data from desktop and analyze on SAS server through SAS on demand ( the way it is possible in SAS Enterprise Miner).

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on


      I was just discussing this with one of our SAS OnDemand admins yesterday! They are looking into techniques that might allow you to access your own data (limited in size, of course) from your own "cloud-enabled" locations such as DropBox. It's too early for me to provide specifics (and it's not my place to do so), but please keep in touch with the support staff via the SAS OnDemand portal to let them know your needs.

    • Ron finnerty on

      Vina, there are work around to load your own data, but you may also find them cumbersome and somewhat unreliable at times.

      I am currently investigating these options myself to find a workable solution for students.

      I don't think Chris' suggestion earlier in this forum of entering your data as datalines is a very feasible solution, except for very small data sets and certainly not for joining data.. The code would get unwieldy quick and prone to data errors.

      If I find a stable solution I'll return and post it here.

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  16. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the great info you shared thru this blog especially for the novices like myself on SAS in general and EG in particular. I'm a mgmt consultant (strategic & business dev) advising mainly at corporate level for over 7yrs with 10+ yrs of prior experience in Healthcare and Financial services industry verticals. My current focus is BI and how to make use of big data in my business consulting offering to my clients. As such I am not a programmer nor would I like to pursue any programming certifications w/SAS. However, I would like to be able to use my SME industry knowledge to create show & tell BI snippets by click/drag GUI of EG that could make $ & sense to my executive audience so that a data mining project can be initiated that could shape the business, address problems and generate profits. At the minimum I'd like to pursue SAS Certified Business Analyst certification and SAS Predictive modeling certification. So my question is: will I be able to pursue at my own pace these certifications using EG and associated course pdf files or books without attending webinars or in-person classes. Wont I actually need EM platform? If so is EM available to professionals to subscribe? And what are my prospects of attracting new consulting assignments in my industry domains with these certifications/skills?? Your expert opinion is highly appreciated. Thank you.


    • Hi Harry.

      I help manage the SAS OnDemand for Professionals: Enterprise Guide product and wanted to provide you with some information related to your questions.

      I think there is merit in both of the certifications you mention based on the goals you have.

      You are correct in that the SAS Predictive Modeling Certification requires access to SAS Enterprise Miner. Currently, we do not offer SAS OnDemand for Professionals for SAS Enterprise Miner and therefore, this learning tool would unfortunately not be helpful to your pursuit of this certification at this time.

      In regards to the SAS Statistical Business Analyst Certification, the two prerequisite courses are Statistics 1: Introduction to ANOVA, Regression, and Logistic Regression and Predictive Modeling Using Logistic Regression. The course data for Statistics 1 is on the SAS OnDemand for Professionals server. We are in the process of testing the Predictive Modeling Using Logistic Regression course data with the product so that we can add the course data to the server by the end of April. Once we do, we will begin marketing SAS OnDemand for Professionals to customers interested in this certification and it will be appropriate for your purpose.

      If you would like to speak with someone in more detail about the two credentials you mentioned, let me know and I’ll put them in touch with you. You can also call us at 800-333-7660 to speak with one of our certification experts.

      Thank you,

  17. Stacie Miller on

    Hi everyone.

    I wanted to share some existing news with you. A free learning version of SAS, SAS University Edition, is now available globally for academic and adult learners. Download your copy today.

    With the release of SAS University Edition, we have retired SAS OnDemand for Professionals and it is no longer for sale. Existing customer support details can be found here.

    We hope you are excited about the SAS University Edition news as we are. Please share it with your colleagues and friends.

    Thank you for your interest in learning SAS.

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