Copy an entire process flow in SAS Enterprise Guide

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I've seen some crazy process flows in SAS Enterprise Guide. Crazy-big, and crazy-complex, used by real customers to accomplish real work. But while these process flows represent a ton of work, this is usually a calculated investment to automate processes that would be difficult to capture in another way.

For years, SAS Enterprise Guide users have asked for a way to reuse their process flows in new projects. You have always been able to copy-and-paste individual items (tasks, queries, programs) from one project to another, or from one flow to another in the same project. But when you tried to copy a collection of items from a flow, everything fell apart when you pasted into the new destination. The links/relationships among the objects were not retained, and that sabotaged your goal of saving time and effort.

In SAS Enterprise Guide 7.1, this is finally improved. You can now copy an entire flow, or multiple selected items from a flow, and paste that content intact into another project or process flow.

To copy an entire flow, right-click on the flow name within the Project Tree, then select Copy. In your destination project, right-click on an empty spot within the Project Tree and you'll see that Paste is enabled. When you paste, you'll see the entire flow transfer over, including the links and layout. It's like magic.

copypaste
To copy just a portion of the process flow, click-drag the cursor to "rubberband" a selection of connected items. (You can also use Ctrl+click to select the items that you want to include.) With the items selected, right-click on one of the selected items and choose Copy. You can then Paste the content into a new or existing process flow.

copyselect
You can paste a process flow into a new or an existing SAS Enterprise Guide project. Try it for yourself -- see how much time it can save for you!

Note: this feature was added in SAS Enterprise Guide 7.1. The first update (7.11) improved it further (such as capturing project prompts that are referenced in your flow).

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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.

17 Comments

  1. Thanks for capturing project prompts. Being able to reuse process flows in new projects is greatly appreciated.

  2. As a hint, if you like to arrange items on your process flow (rather than just use auto-arrange), turn off auto-arrange in the new process flow before you paste. Otherwise you will lose all of the custom arranging you did on the original.

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  4. It appears too that for the Copy-Paste to work, source tables must not already be part of the target Process. (using V7.12 btw).

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Enda - confirmed, it's working as intended, though it's confusing. A process flow can host just a single reference to any given data source, so the paste is disabled if your copied flow contains a duplicate reference. R&D will pursue a fix to make that better; in the meantime, you can deselect the duplicate data set from your source flow and then the paste should work.

  5. Linda Schott on

    I have tried this more times than I can count and it has never worked for me. I tried it with 7.11 (7.100.1.2711) (32-bit) and 7.12 HF2 (7.100.2.3386) (32-bit). I can right-click my Process Flow from the project I want to copy from and select copy. When I open a new project and right-click in the open area of the project tree and select paste, nothing happens. Nothing is copied over to the new project. .

      • I had the same problem. I could copy and paste the process flow within the same project, but creating a new project or opening another one closed the open project and paste is no longer possible.

        The trick turned out to be that I had to open a new instance of SAS Enterprise Guide. With both instances open, I am able to copy the process flow from the source project and paste it into the destination project. Until I tried it, I didn't think there was much chance this would work.

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Celal, you might want to make sure you have the latest hot fixes for EG. Current version is 7.13, and I know that this feature has had some improvements along the way.

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      It should not be -- if you have the proper version of SAS Enterprise Guide! Work with SAS Tech Support if you can't get this working for you.

  6. I know this is an old post, but I have been trying to accomplish this as well. If I copy a process flow and then paste into another project, I only see the tasks if I close the project and reopen it. The problem is that all of the layout is lost and I would have to rearrange everything again. Is there a way to prevent this? I have way to many tasks to do this every time.

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      That experience doesn't sound like correct behavior, but maybe Tech Support can help to answer. Another tried-and-true method is to Save As on the project to create a copy, and use it as a starting template with all of your layout intact. Not as nice, especially if you already have a project file going with stuff you've built and you're just trying to add to it.

      • This is exactly what I do. I have a development project with several process flows inside. Most are small enough I can copy individual tasks over and it isn't too big of a deal. A couple are huge so that doesn't necessarily work. The problem is that I may have several process flows in development in that project so I can't save over the top of the project in production. This is why I really wanted to be able to use the copy process flow feature and be able to just save the flow I am ready to move into production.

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