Last week I alluded to some very useful applications of the Copy Files task. This is one of them. If you have SAS Enterprise Guide 7.13 or later, the Copy Files task is in the Tasks->Data menu. In earlier versions, you'll have to download/install the task as a custom task.
Using the SAS programming language, you can manipulate data and create files of just about any size, shape, and format: Excel, PDF, CSV, RTF, and more. A challenge for SAS Enterprise Guide users has been: how to capture those files and bring them back to your local PC, when the SAS Workspace is running on a remote machine?
Example: Export to a CSV file and download the result
Here's a typical scenario: You have a simple SAS program that produces one or more CSV files that you will ultimately use in another program. How can you get the CSV files to your PC automatically?
STEP 1: Build a program step to create the CSV file
This program is easy to adapt for any data set and environment. It works on Windows and UNIX. All you need to know is the library and member name of the data that you want to export, and then the destination folder for your local PC. The program will perform the export operation, stage the CSV file in a temp location, and define the macro variables that the next step will use.
/* Data to export */ %let lib = sashelp; %let datafile = class; /* Local folder to download to */ %let download_to = c:\projects\data\results; /* detect proper delim for UNIX vs. Windows */ %let delim=%sysfunc(ifc(%eval(&sysscp. = WIN),\,/)); %let download_from = %sysfunc(getoption(work))&delim.&datafile..csv; filename src "&download_from."; proc export data=&lib..&datafile. dbms=csv file=src replace; run; filename src clear;
STEP 2: Use Copy Files task to download the result
The Copy Files task accepts SAS macro expressions. That's a key feature, as the macro variables we need are defined in the previous program step. Here's a screen shot of the task settings:
This makes the use of the Copy Files task very "generic". In fact, you can create a Task Template that defines these exact task settings, and thus always have it available on your Tasks menu directly.
STEP 3: Link these steps together in a process flow
Create a user-defined link between the program and the task, ensuring that they will run in the correct sequence.
The power of SAS and the flexibility of the Copy Files task really makes this a simple operation. However, you might want to consider a few variations:
- Export and download a collection of files in one step. With minor mods to the SAS program, you can loop through a collection of SAS data sets and export multiple CSV files. Instead of defining a single file to download, set the &DOWNLOAD_FROM variable to a file spec with a wildcard. The Copy Files task can handle wildcard notation -- no problem. (Well, no problem anymore, as long as you grab this update.)
/* specify a wildcard */ %let download_from = %sysfunc(getoption(work))&delim.%str(*).csv; /* file to create in step */ filename src "%sysfunc(getoption(work))&delim.&datafile..csv";
- Add a date stamp to your results file. You might have a requirement to keep older versions of your results. With a simple adjustment to the macro expression, you can append a date stamp to the files you create. This will ensure that even if you download the results to the same location each day, the previous results will not be replaced. When you download the file, the name with the date stamp will be intact.
filename src "%sysfunc(getoption(work))&delim.&datafile._%trim(%sysfunc(today(),date9.)).csv";
Sample result from this step:
NOTE: The file SRC is: Filename=/sas/work/class_19MAY2013.csv,
This is just one example of the useful things you can do with the Copy Files task. SAS users are a creative bunch. What other uses can you think of for this task?