Navigating SAS documentation to find out about new, modified, and updated features

Interested in learning about what's new in a software release? What if you want to know whether anything has changed in a SAS product? Or whether there are steps that you need to take before you upgrade to a new software release?
The online SAS product documentation for SAS® 9.4 and SAS® Viya® contains new sections that provide these answers. The following sections are usually listed on the left-hand side of the table of contents for the online Help document:
“What’s New in Base SAS: Details”
“What’s New in SAS 9.4 and SAS Viya”
“SAS Guide to Software Updates and Product Changes”
Note: To make the product-change information easier to find, this section was retitled for SAS® 9.4M6 and SAS® Viya® 3.4. For documentation about previous releases of SAS 9.4, this section is called “SAS Guide to Software Updates.” The information about product changes is included in a subsection called “Product Details and Requirements.” Although the title is different in newer documentation, the content remains the same.

What's available in each section?

• “What’s New” contains information about new features. For example, in SAS 9.4M6, “What’s New” discusses a new ODS destination for Word and a new procedure called PROC SGPIE.
• The “SAS Guide to Software Updates and Product Changes” includes the following subsections:
      o A section on software updates, which is for customers who are upgrading to a new release. (FYI: A software update is any modification that SAS provides for existing software. An upgrade is a new release of SAS. A maintenance release is a collection of updates that are applied to the currently installed software.)
      o Another subsection discusses product details and requirements. In it, you will find information about values or settings that have changed from one release to the next. For example, for SAS 9.4M6, the default style for HTML5 output changed from HTMLBlue to HTMLEncore. Another example is for SAS® 9.4M0, when the YEARCUTOFF= system option changed from 1920 to 1926.

Other links to these resources

In the “What’s New” documentation, there is a link in each section to the corresponding product topic in “SAS Guide to Software Updates and Product Changes.”

For example, when you scroll through this SAS Studio page, you see references both to various “What’s New” pages for different versions of SAS Studio and to “SAS Guide to Software Updates and Product Changes.”

In “What's New in Base SAS: Details,” you can search by the software and maintenance release to find new features. Beginning with SAS 9.4, new features for maintenance releases are introduced using the SAS 9.4Mx notation. For example, in the search box on the page, you can enter 9.4M6.

Final thoughts

With these new online Help sections, you can find information quickly about new features of the current SAS release, as well as what has changed from the previous release. As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions for improving the documentation.

Special thanks

Elizabeth Downes and Marie Dexter in SAS Documentation Development were very willing to make the requested wording changes in the documentation. They also contributed to the content of this article. Thanks to both for their time and effort!


About Author

Kathryn McLawhorn

Principal Technical Support Analyst

Kathryn McLawhorn has worked in Technical Support at SAS since 1997. She started as a consultant in the Base Procedures and ODS group, and she currently is a consultant in the Programming Clients and Interfaces group. She primarily supports report writing, ODS, and Base summary procedures. Kathryn has her SAS Certification in both Base Programming for SAS 9 and Advanced Programming for SAS 9.

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