You’re not using PROC REPORT?


As I visit my clients, it sometimes surprises me when they avoid the use of PROC REPORT.  “It’s too different”.  Even those that do use it, often fail to take advantage of the procedure’s power by ignoring the compute block.  Yes this procedure is different from any other. Yes using the compute block can be complex. Complex enough that someone could write a book about it. Or two.

I admit there is a learning curve, but you are already mastering SAS – why are you avoiding PROC REPORT?  Learning is an investment.  As you learn more and strengthen your REPORT skills you will ultimately save time and produce better reports.

Recently a client described a table generation process that involved the manual transferring of data summarized by PROC SUMMARY into an Excel® workbook, where it was further manipulated to produce the final table.  The process took a full day.  I had to ask; “Why not use REPORT to build the entire table?”  The response; “I already know how to do it this way.”  Well yes, but at what cost?

The client’s process was adapted to include the use of a REPORT step. Her processing time to generate a table went from a full day to a few minutes, and with improved accuracy and consistency across tables.  You can read more about some of the REPORT process in two MWSUG papers Color, Rank, Count, Name; Controlling it all in PROC REPORT and Controlling Colors by Name; Selecting, Ordering, and Using Colors for Your Viewing Pleasure.

So what are you waiting for? If you are not a PROC REPORT user, it is time to get started.  Using REPORT, but not the compute block? Invest some time – there is the potential for huge efficiency gains.  I will look forward to hearing about your PROC REPORT exploits.


About Author

Art Carpenter

California Occidental Consultants

Art Carpenter’s publications list includes five books, and numerous papers and posters presented at SUGI, SAS Global Forum, and other user group conferences. He is also the general editor of "Art Carpenter's SAS Software Series". He has been using SAS® since 1977 and has served in various leadership positions in local, regional, national, and international user groups. He is a SAS Certified Advanced Professional Programmer and through California Occidental Consultants he teaches SAS courses and provides contract SAS programming support nationwide. Art is a member of the SAS Global Users Group Executive Board and is the immediate past President of the San Diego SAS Users Group. His 30 year SAS Circle of Excellence customer recognition profile can be found on


  1. Right on Art!

    I haven't used PROC REPORT a whole bunch, but when I did it was fantastic, and saved HUGE amounts of time and effort. And in these wonderful Interweb days, there are all sorts of online resources to help, including some tremendous papers by Art.

    I admit, I find REPORT harder to use than some of the others, but that's because it DOES SO FLIPPING MUCH! Next time you need something that you can't figure out how to do with tools in your toolbox, I can't recommend highly enough that you check out this procedure. Also, once you're hooked, buy Art's books. They're great!

  2. Richard Blevins on

    Interesting article - I presume full documentation is on the SAS website?
    Can PROC REPORT invoke all EXCEL properties?
    Repeatable ROWs and COLUMNs?
    Header / Footer?
    Does PROC REPORT have all capabilities that Enterprise Guide have?

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