Next best thing since sliced bread - SAS Enterprise Guide


I recently had a student in a SAS Enterprise Guide class declare that EG was the next best thing since sliced bread. I couldn't have agreed with her more!

In this post, I‘ll share four ways where EG outperforms SAS code –yes I know you’re a codeaholic dear reader, but these reasons just might have you pointing and clicking in EG5.1 to extend your SAS work.

1.    Pointing to foreigners is no longer rude

DATA EXTRACTION just got easy with EG 5.1 using 64-bit SAS. With the earlier EG4.3 version on 64-bit SAS you had to write code to point to foreign data sources like Excel. Remember code that went something like this:

 libname test pcfiles path='c:\custfm.xls' server='localhost' port=9621 ;

You’ll remember from my earlier post that your move to 64-bit SAS lets you use software designed for 64-bit hardware. Now you’re saved from remembering all that code since the new GUI now has a drop down option on the Assign library task that lets you pick the PCFILES engine.

You can point to .xls and .xlsx files and let SAS treat them like SAS data sets.

2.    A spanking new data explorer makes mincemeat of your data needs

DATA MANAGEMENT is the bane of the data worker. How do you analyze data if you don’t know what sort of data hits your desk? How do you practice the #1 rule of all programmers  easily, quickly? Simply use the new data explorer available in EG 5.1 by right clicking on your data set in the resource pane bottom left to activate the data explorer.

You can also get quick stats to get to know your data even better. Here, I analyzed the cars data set available freely in the SASHELP library.

3.    Subquerying lets you use the result from one query in another query

DATA ANALYSIS is probably the biggest reason you use SAS. What if you want to embed a query within a query? The EG developers took the guesswork out of your PROC SQL code writing in EG5.1 to offer a drop down to embed a query within a query.

4.    Being stylish is always in style

DATA REPORTING with style sheets have typically stumped end users. Which one to use? What fonts/ colors go with each style? Use the SAS Enterprise Guide Style Manager to help out.

The SAS Enterprise Guide Style Manager (good news- now available version 4 upwards) glides effortlessly across styles visually. This is something that you couldn't accomplish with SAS code.

Just scroll down the style list and on the right you’ll see a preview of colors, fonts the style uses.

I know I said I’d share four tips, but I can’t seem to leave without sharing this parting tip on how SAS EG5.1 has a built-in artificial intelligence in the auto complete feature. It’s a big plus whether you’re a skilled programmer or not. The auto complete feature in the program editor can now even complete SAS data set and SAS data set column names.

Finally, you can use the new Web links in the syntax help window to get additional help when you are writing or editing a SAS program. 

How do you add value to your time by using SAS enterprise guide? Do you use it in conjunction with code? I’d love to hear your ways.

If this post caught your attention due to the food reference, dear reader, you might be interested in my other blog. As a passionate foodie, who’s also health conscious, I've been blogging about some delicious East Indian cooking using locally available ingredients.



About Author

Charu Shankar

Technical Training Specialist

Charu Shankar has been a Technical Training Specialist with SAS since 2007. She started as a programmer, and has taught computer languages, business and English Language skills. At SAS, Charu teaches the SAS language, SQL, SAS Enterprise guide and Business Intelligence. She interviews clients to recommend the right SAS training to help them meet their needs. She is helping build a center for special needs kids in this project.

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    • We use EG5.1, and open a Code Window (SAS Program Window.) The Autocomplete is similar to the Dot.Net environment. I program VB.Net.
      For me it is not an issue, but the SAS users find the Autocomplete good, but the Tips in the yellow windows a bit intrusive. Apparently they "don't seem to go away".
      The question they asked me is if they can keep the autocomplete On but deactivate the Tips. I see there is a checkbox to deactivate Autocomplete. But not for the Tips.

  2. We are runnign the EBI palatform on 64-bit Windows servers but it sounds like 64 -bit software is required to use this funcationaly, is that on the client side or the server side or both?

  3. Chris Hemedinger
    Chris Hemedinger on

    Reminds me of this shirt: Sliced Bread - Best thing since Bread!.

    Long-time programmers are often amazed at how much more they can do with SAS Enterprise Guide...once they take the time to really look at. It's not always about doing less programming; it's about doing more besides the programming that you're already good at.

    • Charu Shankar

      it does free up your time to enjoy your toast, doesn't it..because sliced bread tastes oh so good toasted.. and EG has many quick ways to bake/toast your data that makes it even more useful to the programmer.. that's a great t-shirt :)

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