Does SAS support Microsoft Office 365?

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In her role as Product Manager for SAS Platform Technologies (including the SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office), my colleague Amy Peters hears this question often. With many organizations adopting Microsoft Office 365 -- the "cloud" version of Office -- what does this mean for other processes that integrate with Microsoft Office applications?

Microsoft has used different names for these similar offerings: Office 2016, Office 365, Microsoft 365, Office Online. The bottom line is that most users of a "365" package in the cloud, also have access to the Microsoft Office tools on their Windows desktop. They can use the full version of Excel, PowerPoint, Word, etc., and they also have access to these same tools via a web browser. At SAS, we recently experienced this transition ourselves. Have the Office applications on our desktops vanished? No, they have not. While more of our data is now on the cloud (looking at you, OneDrive), it's not really changing how we work, especially when creating/maintaining content. (Like many organizations, we already had one foot in this world by using Microsoft SharePoint for collaboration.)

Collaboration on the web. Full control on the desktop

Let's look at an example of how I use SAS with Microsoft Office. First, I create a report in SAS Visual Analytics. Then I open Excel on my desktop and use the SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office to embed the shared report into my spreadsheet. Want to see what that looks like in action? Check out this video Tech Talk with SAS developer Tim Beese.

Now suppose that I share this content in Microsoft OneDrive, and my colleague views it in Excel in a web browser. Yep, the content is still there. The difference is that the content is not dynamic like it is on my desktop. So what do you do when you want to edit that spreadsheet displaying in the browser? You select Open in Excel and the document opens on your desktop. Voila! The content is dynamic and you have all the functionality the SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office provides.

How is Microsoft Office 365 changing your workflow?

Today, the expectation of most users working with "Office Online" applications in their browsers is that it's primarily for viewing and basic editing. Will this change? Probably. We're researching how to provide more of the SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office function in a browser app. If you or your colleagues need this browser-based function – you want to do something specific in Excel with your SAS content -- we want to hear from you. And do you have a plan to move completely to browser-based Office apps? Currently you can't create SAS content from a browser-based Office app. If that's a pressing need, we would like to know. For now, we're not hearing of use cases where some form of the desktop app isn't still in the picture.

SAS integration with these everyday productivity tools, like Microsoft Office, is important to us. Don't forget about these SAS programming methods to create and read your Microsoft Office content:

How are you using Microsoft Office 365 with SAS? How do you think this workflow will change for you in the next year or two? Leave a comment -- we would love to hear from you.

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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.

7 Comments

  1. office come setup on

    Good information Chris,
    Thank to put it together.
    We are you using Microsoft Office 365 with SAS and it is good going.

  2. Hi Chris,
    I am currently working on a SAS migration from On-Premise infrastructure to Cloud environment (GCP).
    My target is to remove fat client (SAS Enterprise Guide, Add-In MS Excel), and replace it by thin client.
    Regarding SAS Enterprise Guide, it represents a quite simple change --> SAS Studio usage
    But, for my Add-In users, it is not feasable cause some users had developped VBA macros with SAS Stored Process call :
    Excel gives parameters as input of Stored Process, which executes SAS program and provide outputs to Excel.

    Would you thing that a short term workaround in Office 365 is planned for this use-case ?

    Best regards,
    Gaetan

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      By removing all local client apps, you remove the ability to easily run a Stored Process in an automated way. You can use the Stored Process web app to continue to provide access, or wrap these in a SAS BI Web Service -- but you will still need to then write some code to call that.

  3. Victor Andruskevitch on

    Chris,
    I have a track open with SAS technical support regarding an error my user is getting when opening Excel 365 after we installed SAS Add-in for Microsoft Office.

    SAS Add-in for Microsoft Office causing error when Excel opens. I have uploaded the error text to the track. The assigned support person doesn't seem to grasp that 365 is not Office 2013 and has not read the description of the problem or looked at the SAS Note.

    I have tried installing the add-in using our SASDEPOT media and the 7.15 standalone installation media. The user has Office 365 and I saw a SAS Note 53764 http://support.sas.com/kb/53/764.html which mentions "If your version of Office is installed from Office 365, contact SAS Technical Support here and mention this SAS Note." My user also has the IBM Planning Analytics software installed (see png file). I don't know if there might be a conflict.

    Have you seen anything like this before?

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      I read your track. The error you see might be related to bitness of MS Office vs. the SAS Add-In. Make sure you're running the same -- 32-bit Office and 32-bit SAS Add-In, or else 64-bit version of both.

  4. I have a user who has been running a SAS program that uses PROC EXPORT to convert a SAS dataset to .XLSB. Because her SAS version is 64-bit SAS 9.4 and her Office version WAS 32-bit Office 2013, she had to use the 32-bit PC File Server to export the file by using the appropriate DBMS option. This program has worked fine for many years. This week, our ITS has "upgraded" her Office 2013 to Office 365, and suddenly the program does not work. The Excel version in Office 365 is apparently still 32-bit, since the Account page from the File Tab does not say that it is 64-bit. It should NOT be necessary for her to use 64-bit Excel (almost nobody in the world DOES use 64-bit Excel, and Microsoft admits openly that almost nobody needs to.)

    Is SAS PC File Server compatible with Office 365?

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Hi John, what do you mean by "program doesn't work"? Is there an error in creating the XLSB file, or does Excel just not recognize it? I suggest you work with SAS Tech Support to resolve this. The SAS PC Files Server does not use Excel directly, but uses underlying components to create the Excel-native files.

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