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Getting Started with the SAS System Using SAS/ASSIST Software

Versions 7 and 8 Changes and Enhancements for All Operating Environments

This section describes the features of SAS/ASSIST software that have been implemented or enhanced since Release 6.12. Version 8 changes and enhancements are indicated with a [IMAGE]. All other changes and enhancements described in this section were included in Version 7. If you use SAS/ASSIST software in a mainframe operating environment (OS/390, CMS, or OpenVMS VAX), see also Additional Version 7 Changes and Enhancements for Mainframes.

The WorkPlace Environment

The WorkPlace environment takes the place of the Version 6 menu system. Instead of clicking on a Primary Menu item and being presented with another full-screen menu, clicking on a WorkPlace menu item invokes a pop-up menu, or, in some cases, a series of cascading pop-up menus.

Alternatively, you can select Tasks from the redesigned menu bar to perform SAS/ASSIST tasks. Also, after completing a task, you do not have to return to the main menu to go to another task; the Tasks menu is available from all task windows.

If you do wish to return to the WorkPlace menu, you can now do so more easily. In most cases, selecting Close takes you directly to the WorkPlace menu rather than to a series of Goback and Exit operations.

For details on the WorkPlace environment and the redesigned menu bar, see The SAS/ASSIST WorkPlace Environment.

Support for Long Names for Columns and Tables

SAS/ASSIST software now supports long names for columns and tables, a new feature in the SAS System. Column and table names are no longer limited to eight characters. You can have column and table names of up to 32 characters, and the names may be mixed-case.

There are some limitations to long names with regard to SAS/ASSIST software. Due to window space considerations, most input fields for column and table names still limit you to eight characters. Also, most SAS/ASSIST windows display only a portion of a longer column or table name. If a two-level libref.table name is longer than 17 characters, the first 14 characters are displayed, followed by three dots (...). If a column name is longer than eight characters, the first five characters are displayed, followed by three dots. However, the full name is tracked and maintained internally by SAS/ASSIST software.

For more information on SAS naming conventions, see SAS Files in this book, and SAS Language Reference: Concepts.

New Interfaces for Selecting Tables and Columns

The Version 6 Directory and Variables windows have been replaced by more powerful interfaces for selecting tables and columns. For more information, see Selecting a Table and Selecting a Column.

Remote Submit

The Run menu in each task window now contains items to establish and terminate a remote connection, and to submit your task window selections for execution on a remote host. You no longer have to save your task window selections as a program and then submit the program through the Remote Connect menu; you can do it all from a task window. You can also use Select Remote Data to obtain remote table information, enabling you to set up your SAS/ASSIST tasks locally before submitting them remotely. For more information on Remote Connect, see Using Remote Connect.


The Graphics menu has been streamlined. Based on your software and hardware, SAS/ASSIST now determines whether to present you with the high-resolution graphics menu or the low-resolution graphics menu. Also, the 16 different bar chart windows have been collapsed into one window, giving you greater flexibility in choosing from the different kinds of bar charts. In addition, the Map Report window has been enhanced and streamlined.

[IMAGE] In Version 8, SAS/ASSIST software can now generate three-dimensional bar and pie charts, and can also generate doughnut and star charts.

For more information on graphics, see Graphics

Query and Reporting

[IMAGE] In Version 8, you can now perform a COUNT(*) on an entire table, with the Count(*) item on the Query window's Edit menu.

Report Engine

The Titles, Footnotes, and Grand Totals items are now located on the Edit menu, along with the new Row Title Space item, which enables you to specify the width of the space for the row titles in TABLE reports.

[IMAGE] In Version 8, the Limit Output Rows item has moved to the Edit menu, which also has another new item, Subset Rows, which enables you to apply a WHERE clause to your report.


To be more consistent with established database management system terminology, SAS/ASSIST software now uses the terms table, row, and column in place of data set, observation, and variable. However, you may still encounter the old terms in some SAS products and documentation.


The old tutorial has been replaced by a new, HTML-based tutorial that covers basic SAS/ASSIST tasks. To access the tutorial, select the following items from the menu bar of any SAS/ASSIST window:

Getting Started with SAS/ASSIST Software

HTML Output

SAS/ASSIST software can now generate HTML-formatted output using the SAS Output Delivery System (ODS). See Using HTML Output for details.

Private Menu

The Private Menu is now a pull-down menu that you access by selecting

My Tasks
You can access all of your saved SAS/ASSIST tasks with the My Tasks pull-down menu. For more information, see Setting Up and Using a Private Menu.

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Copyright 1999 by SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA. All rights reserved.