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Interacting with SAS under Windows

Customizing Your SAS Session

Selecting Fonts

To change the font for button text and descriptive text elements, use the SYSGUIFONT system option either in the configuration file or at the command prompt when you start SAS.

To choose a different font or point size for text in SAS windows, open the Fonts dialog box by using the DLGFONT command or by selecting Tools [arrow] Options [arrow] Fonts

To change the font in the Enhanced Editor, select Tools [arrow] Options [arrow] Enhanced Editor and click the Appearance tab.

The fonts that are available for SAS windows depend on the monospace fonts that you have installed under Windows. For example, you might have the Courier font and Lucida Console font available.

When you select a font or point size, the Font dialog box and the Enhanced Editor Options dialog box display a sample of the font that you have selected. For more information about selecting fonts for the Enhanced Editor, select Help [arrow] Using This Window or press F1 when the Enhanced Editor is the active window.

When you install SAS, the Setup program automatically installs a TrueType font, named SAS Monospace, that is designed specifically for use with SAS. This font, in combination with the Sasfont display font, ensures that tabular output is formatted properly whether you view it in the Output window, print it, or copy it to another Windows application.

By default, SAS uses the SAS Monospace font to produce printed output. In addition, any text that you cut, copy, or drag from a SAS window to paste into another Windows application will be formatted with the SAS Monospace font.

You cannot use the Fonts item to select SAS/GRAPH fonts.

Beware of changing certain display characteristics on low-resolution displays.

If you select large font sizes on some monitors, you might not be able to see all the text in your SAS windows at one time. In windows that have no scroll bars, large font sizes can hide some choices, causing them to be invisible. For these types of displays, large font sizes are not recommended. This same problem can occur if you change the Windows Appearance properties and select a thick window border. On low-resolution displays, you should not use thick window borders.  [cautionend]

Setting Session Preferences

Introduction to Setting Session Preferences

You can configure your SAS session to accommodate the way that you like to work. For example:

The following sections describe the Preferences dialog box and how to use these settings to control your SAS session.

Using the Preferences Dialog Box

To customize your SAS session, open the Preferences dialog box in one of the following ways:

The Preferences dialog box contains tabs that separate the session settings into categories. Click the tabs for each sheet to navigate to the settings that you want to change, and then select the options that you want. When you are finished, click OK.

The settings that you select are saved from session to session in the Sasuser.Profile catalog by their respective pages, except for the Results tab. The entries in the Sasuser.Profile are GENWSAVE, VIEWWSAVE, EDITWSAVE, WEBWSAVE, and ADVWSAVE. The Results tab settings are saved in the SAS registry, so they are not moved to another machine when the Sasuser.Profile catalog is copied.

Preferences Dialog Box (showing the General tab)

[The Preferences dialog box]

General Preferences

The General tab enables you specify the general options that control how your SAS session works. The following are the General options:

Recently used file list

specifies whether SAS retains a list of the files that you have accessed. If this option is selected, you can specify in the entries field up to 30 files that you want to retain. Show recently used file list on submenu specifies whether the files will be displayed from the Recent Files submenu that you access from the File menu. If Show recently used file list on submenu is not selected, the files are displayed in the File menu. Each time that you access a file from an editor window, the filename is added to the list.

Confirm exit

specifies whether you want SAS to prompt you for confirmation before you end your SAS session.

Save settings on exit

specifies whether SAS should automatically save your settings when you exit your SAS session.

Submit contents of file opened

specifies whether you want to submit the contents of all files that you open to SAS.

Mail current window as attachment

specifies whether the active window should be automatically included as an e-mail attachment when you initiate electronic mail from within SAS. If you select this option, then you can also specify whether the attachment should be formatted as plain text or as RTF (rich text format, which retains font and color information).

View Preferences

The View tab lets you specify the options that control the appearance of your SAS session. The View options include


specifies whether your SAS windows contain scroll bars and a command line. You can also enable or disable ScreenTips (the helpful hints that appear when you position your mouse pointer over window controls).


specifies whether to show certain aspects of the SAS interface, including the following settings:

Docking View

specifies whether to enable the docking area so that windows that can be docked appear on the left side of the main SAS window.

Window Bar

specifies whether to display the window bar at the bottom of the main SAS window.

status bar

specifies which aspects of the status bar, if any, you want to have visible in your session. Display message lines specifies whether to display the message area of the status bar. Display current folder specifies whether to display the SAS current folder area. Display cursor position specifies whether to display the line and column position of the Enhanced Editor insertion point.

Edit Preferences

The Edit tab controls options that affect the SAS text editors, including:

Overtype mode

specifies whether to insert text or type over on existing text when you type text in a SAS application window. You can also toggle the overtype mode by pressing the Insert key on your keyboard. Overtype mode is not available for the Enhanced Editor.

Autosave every n minutes

specifies whether to automatically save the contents of the editor, and how often to save it.

The Enhanced Editor contents are saved as Autosave of filename.$AS in the operating environment Application Data folder. Under Windows Vista, the pathname for the Application Data folder is c:\Users\ user ID\AppData. Under all other Windows operating environments, the pathname for the Application Data folder is c:\Documents and Settings\user ID\Application Data.

The Program Editor contents are saved to pgm.asv in the current active folder so that you can recover your work in the event that your SAS session ends without enabling you to save the contents of the editor.

Enable unmarking with navigation keys

enables you to unmark text by using the UP, DOWN, LEFT, and RIGHT navigation keys.

Use Enhanced Editor

specifies whether the Enhanced Editor is the primary editor. If this check box is not selected, the Program Editor opens when SAS starts.

Results Preferences

The Results tab enables you to configure how you would like to view your program output results. The Results tab options include the following:


specifies to display program output in the Output window.


Create HTML

specifies to display program output in HTML format.


specifies a folder to store HTML output files. You can either type a folder name or click Browse to search for a folder. This setting is available only when the Use WORK folder setting is not selected.

Use WORK folder

specifies to store HTML output files in the Work folder. The Work folder is a temporary folder that is deleted when SAS closes.


enables you to choose the appearance of the program output. For more information about styles, see the TEMPLATE procedure in SAS Output Delivery System: User's Guide.

View results as they are generated

specifies whether to update the browser with the latest generated HTML output.

View results using

specifies a browser to view HTML program output. Internal browser is available if Microsoft Internet Explorer is installed. When Internal browser is selected, SAS displays HTML output using the Results Viewer.

If you select Preferred browser, your HTML output appears using the browser that is specified by the Preferred browser - Other text field of the Preferences dialog box Web tab.

Note:   If you select Use default in the Preferences dialog box Web tab, your output is displayed using the browser that is registered with Windows.  [cautionend]

Web Preferences

The Web tab enables you to specify your preferred Web browser for use within your SAS session. These preferences are used whenever you issue the WBROWSE command (either directly or by selecting a Help menu item or toolbar button that issues the command). For more information, see WBROWSE Command: Windows. You can specify the following Web options:

Preferred browser

specifies the preferred Web browser to use when accessing Web information from within SAS. By default, SAS uses the browser that is installed on your system and registered with Windows as the default browser. To use a browser other than the default, select the Other radio button and either type a path to the Web browser or click Browse to search for the path to the Web browser.

Start page

specifies the default Web page to which to navigate when invoking the web browser within SAS. By default, the browser navigates to (the SAS Institute home page on the World Wide Web).

Advanced Preferences

The Advanced tab enables you to specify options that can affect your SAS session, including scrolling policy and other miscellaneous behavior. The Advanced options include

Scrolling Options

specifies the number of lines that the Log and Output windows scroll when information is written to them. The default value for the Log window is 8.

When you select Scroll page, the Output window will not display any lines until an entire page is written.

When Scroll max is selected, no output will be written to the window until the procedure is complete.

If Scroll lines is selected and the Output window is full, the Output window scrolls the number of lines specified in the Scroll lines box. The default value is 0. If the value is 0, no output is written to that window while statements are executing, thus providing the best performance.

Scrolling can increase the length of time that SAS takes to run your program. The less that the Log and Output windows have to scroll, the faster your program will run.

You can also set these values by using the Editor Options window or the AUTOSCROLL command. For more information, see AUTOSCROLL Command: Windows and the SAS Help and Documentation.


The following settings are miscellaneous options settings:

Hide cursor in non-input windows

specifies that the insertion point will not appear in windows that do not require text input, such as some SAS/AF programs.

Disable scroll bar focus

specifies that the scroll bar does not become the selected window component when you click it. This setting eliminates flashing problems that can occur in some SAS applications.

Customizing Your Windowing Environment with Commands

Customizing Window Positions

In the default display configuration of an interactive session (shown in The Main SAS Window) the main SAS window displays the Explorer and Results windows as docked windows, and the Log, Enhanced Editor, and Output windows in the remaining SAS workspace.

Using the Windows menu, you can position SAS windows in the same manner as other Windows applications:

While the default configuration is sufficient for efficient SAS use, you can open more windows for easy access and rearrange the windows within the main SAS window. For example, you can keep the My Favorite Folders window open, but minimized, and the windows arranged in a mosaic pattern so you can see all of them at once.

To accomplish this configuration

  1. Open the My Favorite Folders by selecting View [arrow] My Favorite Folders

  2. Select the minimize button in the window title bar for the My Favorite Folders window

  3. Select Windows [arrow] Tile Vertically

The following display shows the resulting main SAS window:

Customized SAS Session

[Display of a customozed SAS session]

In addition, you can undock windows so that all windows can be positioned where you want them or you can minimize the docking view. For more information about the docking view, see Using the Docking View.

For a list of SAS commands used to control the appearance of the main SAS window, see SAS Commands That Control the Main SAS Window.

Changing the Window Colors

Changing the color of window components is a shared responsibility of Windows and SAS. You change the color of most standard window parts by changing the properties of the Windows desktop. Several window element colors are controlled by SAS (such as the color of error message text in the Log).

To change a window component that is controlled by SAS do one of the following

Use the SASCOLOR window to choose the colors for specific elements.

Close and reopen any active windows for new color settings to take effect.

For more information, see the SAS Help and Documentation for the SASCOLOR window.

Customizing Your Windowing Environment with System Options

Several SAS system options are available to control the default windowing environment within SAS. The most commonly used options are the following:


specifies the location and dimensions of the main SAS window when SAS initializes. See Changing the Size and Placement of the Main SAS Window.


specifies the text for the main SAS window title bar. See Changing the Title of Your SAS Session.


enables you to add Help to the main SAS window Help menu in order to access custom Help. See HELPREGISTER System Option: Windows.


minimizes the SAS window when SAS initializes. See Minimizing Your SAS Session.


enables you to add applications to the main SAS window Tools menu so that you can execute them by clicking their names. See Adding Applications to the Tools Menu.


specifies the pathnames to set for the current folder and the default folder for the Open and Save As dialog boxes when SAS starts. See SASINITIALFOLDER System Option: Windows.


specifies the pathname or the dynamic link library name of the logo screen that is to appear at the start of a SAS session, or it specifies to suppress the logo screen. See Displaying a Custom Logo Screen during SAS Invocation.


specifies user-defined icons to be incorporated into SAS/AF applications. See Adding User-Defined Icons to SAS


specifies to enable use of the pointer to select an object and a single click to invoke the object's default action.See Enabling Web Enhancements in SAS

These system options can be specified in your SAS configuration file or in the SAS command when you start SAS from a command prompt. Some are also valid in an OPTIONS statement. For details about the syntax of these options and about where you can specify them, see SAS System Options under Windows. For a comprehensive list of these options, see SAS System Options That Control the Main SAS Window.

Changing the Size and Placement of the Main SAS Window

The AWSDEF system option enables you to control the placement and size of the main SAS window when SAS initializes. If you want your SAS session always to occupy the upper-left quarter of your screen, specify the following AWSDEF option in your SAS configuration file:

-awsdef 0 0 50 50

For more information, see AWSDEF System Option: Windows.

Changing the Title of Your SAS Session

By default, the main SAS title bar contains the text SAS. If you want a different title, you can use the AWSTITLE system option. For example, to set the title to My SAS Session, specify the following option in your SAS configuration file:

-awstitle "My SAS Session"

For more information, see AWSTITLE System Option: Windows.

Adding Help to the Help Menu

The HELPREGISTER system option enables you to access customized help from the main SAS window Help menu. You can add up to 20 WinHelp (.hlp), HTML (.htm), or Microsoft HTML Help (.chm) files to the Help menu. HELPREGISTER system option arguments enable you to

Note:   WinHelp (WinHlp32.exe) is no longer supported by Microsoft and is excluded from Windows Vista. The preferred method is Microsoft HTML Help (.chm).  [cautionend]

To add multiple Help files to the Help menu, use multiple HELPREGISTER system options either in your configuration file or at the command prompt when you start SAS.

The following example adds the Help file My Help.htm to the Help menu:

sas -helpregister "My Help" c:\mysashelp\myHelp.htm html

For more information, see HELPREGISTER System Option: Windows.

Minimizing Your SAS Session

The ICON system option causes SAS to be minimized at invocation. If you are running a batch job, you might want to use this system option to save space on your screen. For more information, see ICON System Option: Windows.

Adding Applications to the Tools Menu

The REGISTER system option enables you to add names of applications to the Tools menu of the main SAS window. You can execute one of these applications by clicking its name. The REGISTER system option takes as arguments a menu name and an operating environment command or a path specification for an executable file. You can also specify a working folder.

The following is an example that adds a command to print the contents of the SAS folder:

-register "Contents of SAS" 
          "dir c:\program files\sas"

When you click Contents of SAS in the Tools menu, the output of the Windows DIR command is displayed in a command prompt window.

The following is an example of adding an .EXE file to the menu along with a specification of a working folder of C:\EXDATA:

-register "Excel" "excel.exe" "c:\exdata"

This action adds Excel to the menu. When you click Excel, the file EXCEL.EXE is invoked.

The REGISTER system option is valid only as an invocation option (that is, in a SAS configuration file or in the SAS invocation command). For more information, see REGISTER System Option: Windows.

Setting the Initial Path For the Current Folder and the Paths Specified in the Open and Save Dialog Boxes

If you want to start SAS with a current folder other than the default current folder, use the SASINITIALFOLDER system option when you start SAS. The pathname that you specify in the SASINITIALFOLDER option sets the initial current folder as well as the initial pathname for the Open and Save As dialog boxes.

You can specify the SASINITIALFOLDER option either on the command line when you start SAS or in a configuration file. For example, you might specify sas -sasinitialfolder "c:\mySasFiles" to start SAS.

For more information, see SASINITIALFOLDER System Option: Windows.

Displaying a Custom Logo Screen during SAS Invocation

To display your own logo when SAS starts

  1. Create the logo that you want to display and save it either as a Windows bitmap (which has a .bmp file extension), or compile it as a resource and build it into a dynamic link library.

  2. When you invoke SAS, specify the -SPLASHLOC system option with the full pathname of the file that contains your bitmap. If the bitmap is in a DLL, you must specify the resource number as well. The default resource number is 1.

For example, if your logo is stored in C:\MYBMPS\SPLASH.BMP specify the following SPLASHLOC system option:

-splashloc c:\mybmps\splash.bmp

If your logo is stored in C:\MYDLLS\OPENING.DLL as resource 101, you specify the following SPLASHLOC system option:

-splashloc c:\mydlls\opening.dll 101

For more information, see SPLASHLOC System Option: Windows.

Adding User-Defined Icons to SAS

The USERICON system option enables you to add your own icons to SAS. These icons can be used with SAS/AF and SAS/EIS applications. The syntax for the USERICON system option is as follows:

-USERICON icon-resource-file number-of-icons

The icon-resource-file argument specifies the full path to a dynamic link library (DLL) file that contains the user icons. The number-of-icons argument specifies the number of icons found in the resource file. For example, the following system option specifies that there are four icons located in an icon resource file named ICONS.DLL found in the C:\JUNK folder:

-usericon c:\junk\icons.dll 4

The DLL that is used as the icon resource file must be created using the Win32 Software Development Kit (and must therefore be 32-bit). For more information about how to build a resource file, refer to the documentation for the Microsoft Win32 Software Development Kit.

You can incorporate icons into your SAS/AF and SAS/EIS applications using a FRAME entry. For more information, see USERICON System Option: Windows and refer to the SAS Help and Documentation for SAS/AF software and SAS/EIS software.

Enabling Web Enhancements in SAS

If you have Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 (IE) or greater installed, the WEBUI system option enables some SAS windows, such as the SAS Explorer window, to work like an IE web page where pointing to an object selects the object and a single mouse-click invokes the default action.

To select a range of objects, press and hold down the SHIFT key, and point to the first and last objects in the group.

To select multiple items, press and hold down the CTRL key, and point to individual items in the group.

Customizing the Toolbar

Introduction to Customizing the Toolbar

SAS assigns several commonly used commands to the buttons for your convenience. You can customize the toolbar settings to access commonly used commands or create a toolbar with a specific application window. This section describes how to customize the toolbar settings.

Using the Customize Tools Dialog Box

You customize all toolbar settings using the Customize tools dialog box. To open the Customize Tools dialog box, do one of the following:

Use the Toolbars tab for general toolbar settings and the Customize tab to define tools on the toolbar.

Setting General Toolbar Preferences

The Toolbars tab has settings to control the behavior and appearance of the toolbar. Tool options include:


specifies button appearance and Help options. These options include:

Large icons

specifies whether to use the set of large buttons on the toolbar. This setting is useful for high-resolution displays.

Show ScreenTips on toolbars

specifies whether to display a brief button description when you place the pointer over the button.


specifies whether to display the toolbar and command bar. These options include:

Application Toolbar

specifies whether to display the toolbar for the active application.

Command Bar

specifies to display the command bar and enable the options to use the command bar.

When Use AutoComplete is selected, SAS stores commands that were entered previously and completes the command once you start typing the command.

Select Sort commands by most recently used to display commands in the command bar list by the most recently entered command. If this setting is not selected, the commands are ordered by the most frequently used.

In Number of commands saved, type the number of commands to save in the command bar list. Valid values range between zero and 50. The default is 15.

When you have configured the Toolbars tab, either click Customize to complete your customization or click OK to close the dialog box.

Customizing a Toolbar

The Customize tab, as shown in the following display, enables you to add, delete, and modify commands on the toolbar.

Customize Tab of the Customize Tools Dialog Box

[The Customize Tools dialog box]

The following explains each of the buttons (commands) and fields:


Opens a toolbar file.


Saves a toolbar file.


Restores a toolbar to the default settings.


Displays the title text which appears in the title bar when the toolbar is undocked.

Add a tool

Adds a tool or a separator space to the toolbar. This tool has two parts. When you click the left button a blank tool is added to the toolbar. When you click the down arrow, you can select to add either a Blank tool or Separator. Windows that define an action set (for example, Explorer) have a selection for Action.

Remove tool

Deletes the selected tool from the toolbar list.

Change icon

Opens the Bitmap Browser for you to select a new icon for the selected tool.

Move tool up

Moves a tool up one position in the toolbar list.

Move tool down

Moves a tool down one position in the toolbar list.


Deletes the selected icon from the toolbar list and places it in the clipboard.


Places a copy of the selected icon in the clipboard.


Copies an icon from the clipboard to the selected tool in the toolbar list.


displays the command for the tool that is selected in the toolbar list. You can modify the command in the Command box.

Help Text

displays the Help text that appears in the status bar message area when the pointer is placed over the button in the toolbar. You modify the Help text in the Help Text box.

Tip Text

displays the ScreenTip that appears under the button when the pointer is placed over the button in the toolbar. You modify the tip text in the Tip Text box.

Toolbar list

lists the buttons, commands, Help text and separators that are defined in the toolbar.

Adding a Tool to the Toolbar

To add a tool to the toolbar:

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Click the Add tool button to add a blank tool to the toolbar list. Enter a SAS command in the Command box.

    • For windows that have a set of predefined tools, such as the Explorer window or the My Favorite Folders window, click the Add tool down arrow and select Action. From the Add Action dialog box, select an action. This selection adds a new action to the toolbar. You can enter multiple commands separated by semicolons.

    • Click the Add tool down arrow and select Separator to add a separator to the toolbar list.

  2. Click the Bitmap Browser button to select an icon for the tool. When you have selected an icon, click OK.

  3. Type Help text in the Help Text box.

  4. Type ScreenTip text in the Tip Text box.

  5. Position the tool in the toolbar list by clicking the Move tool up and Move tool down buttons.

  6. When you are finished, click Save. In the Save Tools dialog box, type the library, catalog, and toolbox name. Then click OK.

Bitmap Browser Dialog Box

[The Bitmap Browser dialog box]

Removing a Tool from the Toolbar

To remove a tool from the toolbar:

  1. Select the tool in the toolbar list that you want to remove.

  2. Click Remove tool.

  3. When you are finished, click Save.

Customizing and Saving a Toolbar for Use with a Particular Application or Window

Before you add a command to a toolbar, ensure that the command is available from a menu. Buttons are enabled only if the command is available from a menu, with the exception of the Print and Copy commands, which are always enabled.

Use the following procedure to customize a toolbar to use with a particular application or window:

  1. Click in the application or window to make it the active window.

  2. Customize the toolbar by adding and removing tools as described in previous sections.

  3. When you are finished customizing the toolbar, click Save. The Save Tools dialog box appears (as shown in Save Tools Dialog Box).

  4. SAS completes the libref, catalog, and entry fields. Select the Save tools for window check box, where window is the active window, and then click OK.

    When you select the Save tools for window check box, the toolbar is associated with the particular application or window by using the same library, catalog, and entry name as the PMENU entry for the application or window. SAS first looks for toolbox entries in Sasuser.Profile before searching the application catalog.

Save Tools Dialog Box

[The Save Tools dialog box]

If you save the toolbar so that it is associated with a particular application, SAS automatically loads the tools when that application's window is active.

You can use the TOOLLOAD command to load your custom toolbar manually. For more information, see TOOLLOAD Command: Windows.

Resetting the Tools to the Default Settings

To restore a toolbar to its default settings, click Restore Defaults. SAS asks you to confirm that you want to restore to the default tool settings. When you click Yes, the tools are reset to their original settings (the settings that were in place when SAS was installed).

If a SAS application defines a default toolbar for its application window, clicking the Restore Defaults button restores the settings for that toolbar.

Examples of Useful Tools You Can Create

Suppose that you want to create a tool that opens the SAS Web page to the sample programs for Base SAS when the Enhanced Editor is the active window. You would perform the following steps:

  1. Make the Enhanced Editor the active window.

  2. In the Customize tab of the Customize Tools dialog box, click the Add tool toolbar button. This action creates a template for a new tool in the list box.

  3. In the Command field, type .

    In the Help Text field, type Sample programs for Base SAS on .

    In the Tip Text field, type sample programs .

  4. Click the Change icon button. From the Bitmap Browser dialog box, select a bitmap that is appropriate for the sample programs on the SAS Web site and click OK.

  5. Use the Move tool up and the Move tool down buttons to position the tool in the toolbar.

  6. Click the Save the toolbar button to save the tool with your default tool configuration.

The following are some examples of other tools that you might find useful to create:


includes a program that you use often into the Enhanced Editor window for editing.


saves a SAS program after you finish editing it and clears the Enhanced Editor window.


includes and submits a SAS program that you use often.


includes and submits a SAS program to sign on to a remote system. For example, to sign on to a remote MVS session, the SIGNON.SAS program might contain

options comamid=tcp remote=mytso;
libname remtdata 'mylib.mydata.monthly';
For more information about signing on to remote sessions, see the SAS/CONNECT User's Guide.

includes and submits a SAS program to download a data set from a remote session. Assuming that you have already signed on to the remote session, DOWNLOAD.SAS might contain:

proc download data=remtdata.june;
   /* where libname 'remtdata' is */
   /* already defined             */
For more information about signing on to remote sessions, see the SAS/CONNECT User's Guide.

loads a different toolbar that contains another collection of tools.

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