LABEL Statement

Assigns descriptive labels to variables.
Valid in: DATA step
Category: Information
Type: Declarative



specifies the variable that you want to label.
Tip:You can specify additional pairs of labels and variables.
specifies a label of up to 256 characters, including blanks.
Restrictions:If the label includes a semicolon (;) or an equal sign (=), you must enclose the label in either single or double quotation marks.

If the label includes single quotation marks ('), then you must enclose the label in double quotation marks.

Tips:You can specify additional pairs of labels and variables.

For more information about including quotation marks as part of the label, see Character Constants in SAS Language Reference: Concepts.

' '
removes a label from a variable. Enclose a single blank space in quotation marks to remove an existing label.


Using a LABEL statement in a DATA step permanently associates labels with variables by affecting the descriptor information of the SAS data set that contains the variables. You can associate any number of variables with labels in a single LABEL statement.
You can use a LABEL statement in a PROC step, but the rules are different. See the Base SAS Procedures Guide for more information.


Both the ATTRIB and LABEL statements can associate labels with variables and change a label that is associated with a variable.


Example 1: Specifying Labels

Here are several LABEL statements:
  • label compound=Type of Drug;
  • label date="Today's Date";
  • label n='Mark''s Experiment Number';
  • label score1="Grade on April 1 Test"  
          score2="Grade on May 1 Test";

Example 2: Removing a Label

This example removes an existing label:
data rtest;
   set rtest;
   label x=' ';

See Also