Using Item Store Help Files

Accessing SAS Item Store Help Files

Note: SAS supports item store help files for SAS 9.2. However, support for item store help files will be removed in a future release of SAS. Updated help files for SAS 9.2 are available only in HTML. If you use your item store help files for SAS 9.2, please remember that the item store help files that are provided by SAS have not been updated. We strongly recommend that you convert your item store help files to HTML when you install SAS 9.2, and use your HTML help files with the updated SAS help files that are in HTML. For information about converting your item store files to HTML, see Converting Item Store Help to HTML Help and%ISHCONV Macro: z/OS.
Help is available through the SAS online Help facility. To obtain host-specific help, execute the PMENU command as necessary to display SAS menus, then select Helpthen selectSAS System Helpthen selectMain TOCthen selectUsing SAS Software in z/OS. Then select topics of interest at increasing levels of detail.
Issue the KEYS command to determine the function keys used to page up, down, left, and right through help pages, and to move backward and forward between Help topics.

Using User-Defined Item Store Help Files

Your site might provide user-defined help that provides site-specific information via the standard SAS help browser. To access user-defined help via the SAS help browser, you need to allocate a user-defined help library at SAS invocation.
The user-defined help library contains help information in the form of one or more item store files, which use a file format that enables SAS to treat the item store as a file system within a file. Each item store can contain directories, subdirectories, and individual Help topics. For information about loading user-defined help into item store files, see ITEMS Procedure: z/OS.
Help for SAS software is contained in item store files. SAS automatically allocates libraries for SAS software help at SAS invocation. To invoke SAS so that it recognizes user-defined help, follow these steps:
  1. In an autoexec file, allocate the SAS library that contains the user-defined item store files using the LIBNAME statement. For example, if the libref is to be MYHELP and the item store is named APPL.HELP.DATA, the LIBNAME statement in the SAS invocation would be
    libname myhelp '' disp=shr;
    For more information, see Autoexec Files and LIBNAME Statement: z/OS.
  2. Concatenate your item store files to the SAS help item store named by the HELPLOC= system option at SAS invocation. For example, if the libref for your user-defined help was MYHELP, and if the item store in the libref was named PRGAHELP, then the HELPLOC= specification in the SAS invocation would be as follows:
    For more information about the HELPLOC= system option, see HELPLOC= System Option: z/OS.
User-defined help cannot be added to the SAS help item store because most users have read-only access to the SAS help library.
After SAS has been invoked so that it can recognize user-defined help, you can access that help with the standard SAS help browser by issuing the HELP command and specifying the appropriate universal resource locator (URL). For example, if the Help topic that you want to display is named DIRAHLP1.HTM, and if that Help topic is contained in an item store directory named PRGADIRA, the HELP command would be as follows:
help helploc://prgadira/dirahlp1.htm
See the next section for information about developing user-defined help for the SAS help browser.

Creating User-Defined Item Store Help Files

You can create help for your site or for your SAS programs that can be displayed in the standard SAS help browser. To ensure that your user-defined help will be displayed as it is written, use only the subset of tags from HTML that are supported on the SAS help browser. Help information in tags that are not supported by the SAS help browser might be ignored by the SAS help browser.
The following table describes the HTML tags supported by the SAS help browser. The TABLE tag is the only frequently used tag that is not supported at this time. To add tables to your help, use the PRE tag and format the text manually using blank spaces, vertical bars, hyphens, and underscores as needed.
HTML Tags Supported by the SAS Help Browser
Tag Type
Tag Names
H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6
for hierarchical section headings
for text in the body of a help file
for unordered (bullet) lists, ordered (numbered) lists, directory (unordered, no bullets) lists, and menu (unordered) lists
definition list
for definition lists, titles of items, and definitions of items
preformatted text
for tables, which must be manually formatted with blank spaces
font specification
I, B, U
for italic, bold, and underlined text
for emphasis, strong emphasis, definitions, code examples, code samples, keyboard key names, variables, citations
for anchors and the links that reference those anchors
for titles in the browser, base URLs, heading sections at the top of a page
For information about the options available for these tags, see any reference for the version of HTML supported by your browser.
For information about loading your help into item store files, see ITEMS Procedure: z/OS.