At SAS Global Forum in Las Vegas I was asked the question, “What does PROC REPORT do?” It is a simple question, but I hesitated to answer. I’m normally so deep inside the nitty gritty details of PROC REPORT that I don’t often think about what it would be like to see and use PROC REPORT for the first time.
What level of understanding do you assume when trying to describe SAS programming to a novice user? Where does one start when trying to explain any procedure in SAS? The simplest answer I can give to the question, “What does PROC REPORT do?” does not seem to cover everything that it should. But you have to start somewhere, right? If I were given a second chance to answer that question I would say:
PROC REPORT generates a report of the data in your data set. It can be used to create a simple printing of the data or something more complex. PROC REPORT can calculate statistics for numeric analysis variables, such as the sum or mean. Also, PROC REPORT can sort and group the data by variables in the data set. The calculations on numeric variables can be performed at the group level or for the data set as a whole. For more complex reports, PROC REPORT is capable of creating new columns not in your original data set. PROC REPORT is also capable of transposing data so a variable’s values become column headers in the final report.
It is a basic, short answer to the question but it gives a good starting point for learning about everything that PROC REPORT is capable of doing.
I challenge you to share your code and what you do with others in your office or school. It will be as much of a learning experience for you as it will be for the person you share with. And if they share with you what they are doing, you both have a chance to learn something new.
For more on PROC REPORT, check out my book The SAS Programmer’s PROC REPORT Handbook: Basic to Advanced Reporting Techniques. You can also read an excerpt of it online.
I want to give a special thank you for all of the folks at SAS Global Forum who attended the SAS authors’ lunch or found me in the quad and asked questions about my book. I appreciate all of the questions and interest, and loved hearing stories about what you are doing with SAS.