Five easy steps to write your presentation in SAS®

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Most SUG presentations are written in PowerPoint – they may even be written in Word first, and then fancied up a bit in PowerPoint – but they are rarely written in SAS. But Louise Hadden, from Abt Associates Inc, had a need to produce a lot of PDF presentations. She said that she’d seen Eric Gebhart’s Jabberwocky presentation and Mike Zdeb’s PDF presentation, and she wanted to do her own. She’d been waiting for SAS to output to PowerPoint but she couldn't wait any longer. She'd decided to code her own. In her paper, she’s given you the five easy steps and a zipfile with backgrounds and code to play with this yourself.

[I love the biography that Hadden shared in the NESUG catalog, “Ms. Hadden has been using SAS since the earth was a primordial soup (She looks quite young to have been a user for that long. Don’t you think?). She has a particular interest in extreme reporting using SAS. She also enjoys gourmet cooking, photography, dogs and grandchildren!” I’d say that Hadden combined her SAS expertise with her love for extreme reporting and gourmet cooking, because she really cooked one up for you.]

Here are her five steps in a nut shell:

Step 1: Creating a background graphic for your template.

    “Have a graphic that is as close as possible to the 8 ½” by 11” landscape format as possible,” she said. “You can import jpegs or if your company has a PowerPoint template, you can use that.”

Step 2: Build a template. Hadden chose to have a different photo in each slide. To do that, she needed a style template without any lines in it – as you sometimes see in tables. Here is the code she gave that will enable you to put in your own graphics and fill in the entire background:
Step 3: Adding content to your slides. Hadden uses Data Step to create the content for the slides. According to Hadden, SAS allows extremely wide variables, which she says works in your favor when creating paragraphs and bulleted lists in presentations. (See her paper for the sample code.)

Step 4: Putting it all together. Use ODS PDF. Hadden used PROC Report because it offers the greatest flexibility. “You can define a column that is blank and move it over so that nothing enters the area where the picture is going to be,” said Hadden.

Step 5: Present! Show your presentation using Adobe Reader, a free and readily available platform. Hadden says to choose View/Full Screen mode and then scroll through the presentation with the mouse or page up/page down keys.

You can download Hadden’s presentation, PROC PRESENT: Write Your Presentation in SAS® in as Few as Five Easy Steps from the NESUG website. Don’t forget to get the Zipfile that includes sample backgrounds and code.


These code examples are provided as is, without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Recipients acknowledge and agree that SAS Institute shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of their use of this material. In addition, SAS Institute will provide no support for the materials contained herein.


These code examples are provided as is, without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Recipients acknowledge and agree that SAS Institute shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of their use of this material. In addition, SAS Institute will provide no support for the materials contained herein.

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Waynette Tubbs

Editor, Marketing Editorial

+Waynette Tubbs is the Editor of the Risk Management Knowledge Exchange at SAS, Managing Editor of sascom Magazine and Editor of the SAS Tech Report. Tubbs has developed a comprehensive portfolio of strategic business and marketing communications during her career spanning 15 years of magazine, marketing and agency work.

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2 Comments

  1. I've been using PDF for presentations for a couple years now. It's a safe option when you don't know if the presentation computer has the same version of powerpoint. Some features of newer powerpoint versions are not compatible with older versions. This is not really an issue for different Adobe Reader versions.

    I also like this method of creating a presentation because it forces one to keep it simple. Whereas elaborate presentation slides take away from the point(s) the speaker is trying to make.

    This is a handy way to make presentations - thanks for sharing!

    • Waynette Tubbs
      Waynette Tubbs on

      You make some very good points, Jared. I've been to quite a few conferences this year - and more than my share of meetings - and nothing ruins a presentation faster than the second flying headline. Thanks for bringing this up.

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