Reading your mind: Writing SAS code in the new Enterprise Guide editor


I taught my first SAS Enterprise Guide course more than 10 years ago using version 1.2.  At that time, I would estimate 95% of my students did not know how to write SAS code and had no desire to learn the syntax!  They just wanted to take advantage of the great point-and-click features to query and summarize their data.  But over the years, I have watched a significant shift occur…  More and more experienced SAS programmers are converting to Enterprise Guide as their primary programming interface.  The good news is Enterprise Guide is actually designed to fulfill the needs of both types of users – those who think the DATA step is one of man’s greatest creations, and those who have no clue what the significance of the semi-colon is in a SAS program.

I like to ask SAS programmers attending my classes, “Do you use Enterprise Guide?”  I will often hear, “Oh, I write my own code, so I don’t need to use Enterprise Guide.”   A common misconception is that Enterprise Guide is strictly for point-and-click users who need to have code generated for them.  Although that is an extremely powerful (and very cool) part of the software, many SAS programmers are truly missing out on some of the amazing features included in the Enterprise Guide programming editor.  Significant effort has been devoted by developers in Enterprise Guide 4.3 to facilitate the work of our beloved programmers through the addition of some really modern and useful features.  This short video demonstrates the Enterprise Guide program editor and some of its unique functionality.


About Author

Stacey Syphus

Technical Trainer/SAS Enterprise Guide Curriculum Manager

Stacey Syphus is a senior manager and instructor for SAS Education. Her areas of expertise include SAS programming, SAS Enterprise Guide and SAS Studio. Occasionally she gets back to her roots and teaches a statistics course. When not teaching or writing SAS training, she is likely chauffeuring her 3 children to various activities, visiting fun places near her Northern California home, or watching college football or basketball.


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  3. Joël Bissonnette on

    Thanks for the video.
    I appreciate some of the novelties of SAS Enterprise Guide, like the auto-complete. But what annoys me most is the tab interface, which allows at most two windows to be displayed at a time. For me it's a big, big, big decrease in productivity, because in the SAS Display Manager I often display three or four data sheets plus the log window plus one instance of the enhanced editor at a time (I mean, they don't overlap). This is impossible with SAS EG.
    Moreover I often look at the the contents of a library with details mode, because I want to sort by date or by file size. Those two informations do not seem to be available in SAS EG.
    Third point: the process flow is quite useless for me, because the name displayed uses too few characters. For instance, I have a macro that creates temporary data sets in the WORK folder and all these temporary files have a name beginning with "_SVN_". Guess what? In the process flow, I see "WORK._SVN_..." everywthere.
    There are some of the problems I have with using SAS EG, but these first three, and especially the first one, are the more important.

    • Stacey Syphus

      I am not a developer, so I can't promise what features will or will not be included in the next versions of Enterprise Guide, but I do know similar feedback requesting multiple windows, more display characters in the process flow, and more library details has been received. Hopefully it will become a more productive environment for you! Thanks for the comments...

  4. Hi,

    I have indeed been impressed by many of the "amazing features included in the Enterprise Guide programming editor." But it makes me wonder, can we expect these features to be included in the Base SAS Enhanced Editor in a future release? Or, maybe more to the point, wouldn't it make sense for there to be a single editor (used in both Base SAS and EG), rather than develop and support 2 independent editors (3 if you included the Base SAS program editor).


    • Stacey Syphus

      Thanks for your comment, Quentin! Don't expect the new editor features to show up in the display manager window any time soon. There are a number of reasons for this: some are technical, and some are a matter of priorities at SAS to get these and other new features to as many customers as possible.

      Developers have the goal to make SAS Enterprise Guide the most productive environment for SAS programmers. The fact is, with the trend in IT shops towards centralizing your SAS environments, a higher proportion of end users work with SAS only via SAS Enterprise Guide. While SAS display manager has seen a few enhancements in SAS 9.3, most of the new investment in programmer productivity is concentrated in SAS Enterprise Guide. The display manager is NOT going away (some programmers would riot if that happened) and it still may see some new features in the future, but it is fair to say our development effort is being focused more in SAS Enterprise Guide.

  5. Chris Hemedinger
    Chris Hemedinger on

    This is one of my new favorite videos. In 11 minutes, it covers features that every SAS programmer should see. Use SAS Enterprise Guide or not, you should at least be aware of what the latest advancements are offering you.

    • Hi Chris,
      The only issue i constantly face with using SAS EG is that there is no proper way to STOP a job which is running without closing the SAS EG session window via the Task Manager in Windows. This is sometimes very annoying but otherwise SAS EG is a Terrific product.Hopefully the Job termination will be improved in the next version of SAS EG ie SAS EG 5.1.

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