Adding some culture to your SAS Enterprise Guide prompts


My teenage daughter is a self-appointed anglophile. She's a big fan of British movies and TV shows such as Doctor Who and Sherlock, and although she has not yet visited the UK (an injustice for which she blames her father), she considers the place to be her homeland.

In an effort to live out her adopted British lifestyle, she changes her iPhone and laptop settings to "English - British". It's an innocuous preference, usually. However, it does occasionally create a problem, such as when she accidentally turns in schoolwork with British spellings for words such as "honour" or "colour". (As the famous quote from George Bernard Shaw points out, we are two nations divided by a common language.) Fortunately, her teachers sympathize (or "sympathise") and don't usually deduct points for these "misspellings".

SAS Enterprise Guide (and other SAS applications) are translated into many languages, but for these apps "English is English", and there is no special affordance for those users in the UK or Australia. For these users, running SAS Enterprise Guide in English means running it as "English - United States". Even though the language is the same, there are a few local customs, such as the format of date values, that can confuse end users.

These differences are evident in a few places, including in the prompt dialog for date values. When running in "English - United States" mode, a "Date"-type prompt looks like this:

The display value is USA-style, but more confusing is what happens when you try to enter a date value. Even though the prompt window displays the current value with the full month name, the user can enter date values by using a variety of different value styles. In the USA, we usually enter dates as "MM/DD/YYYY", where "02/10/2014" is interpreted at February 10, 2014. But a British or Australian user, accustomed to "DD-MM-YYYY" formatting, might expect that value to come out as October 2, 2014.

However, you can convince SAS Enterprise Guide to observe the local customs, and here's how. Change your SAS Enterprise Guide shortcut to add a "/culture" argument, as in:

"c:\Program Files\SASHome\x86\SASEnterpriseGuide\6.1\SEGuide.exe" /culture:en-AU

The above example is for Australia. For British, try adding "/culture:en-GB". Here's the same date prompt with the new setting applied:

Any date value that you enter will be interpreted in the "Australian way" instead of the American way. This technique works for any version of SAS Enterprise Guide, 4.2 and later.

Note: Even though this changes the displayed formatting in the SAS Enterprise Guide interface, it does not necessarily change SAS behavior for how values are interpreted in your programs -- such as the way in which PROC IMPORT and DATA step INPUT statements interpret date values. For that, you'll need to use SAS LOCALE and DATESTYLE options and INFORMAT statements.

If you don't want to rely on a modified shortcut, you can set your "language" preference in Tools->Options. But first, you need to "fool" SAS Enterprise Guide into thinking that you have installed these additional English variations. Here's how.

  1. Using Windows Explorer, navigate to the installation directory for SAS Enterprise Guide.
  2. In the application folder, create a new empty folder with a name that matches the culture you want. For example, "en-GB" for British or "en-AU" for Australia.

    You can find the complete set of "culture names" on the Microsoft developer site.

When you restart the application, you will find new "language" options available on the list:

Select the one you like, restart the application, and immerse yourself in a new culture.


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.


  1. Neil Constable on

    HI Chris,

    I thought for a minute there that you were saying there was an English version of Enterprise Guide. Unfortunately not, colour is still spelt wrong.

    Oh well


    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      That's funny, the Canadians have similar complaints -- they keep looking for the "Help->Aboot" information.

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