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External Files

Definition of External Files

external files

are files that are managed and maintained by your operating system, not by SAS. They contain data or text or are files in which you want to store data or text. They can also be SAS catalogs or output devices. Every SAS job creates at least one external file, the SAS log. Most SAS jobs create external files in the form of procedure output or output created by a DATA step.

External files used in a SAS session can store input for your SAS job as:

  • records of raw data that you want to use as input to a DATA step

  • SAS programming statements that you want to submit to the system for execution.

External files can also store output from your SAS job as:

  • a SAS log (a record of your SAS job)

  • a report written by a DATA step.

  • procedure output created by SAS procedures, including regular list output, and, beginning in Version 7, HTML and PostScript output from the Output Delivery System (ODS).

The PRINTTO procedure also enables you to direct procedure output to an external file. For more information, see Base SAS Procedures Guide. See SAS Output for more information about ODS.

Note:   Database management system (DBMS) files are a special category of files that can be read with SAS/ACCESS software. For more information on DBMS files, see About SAS/ACCESS Software and the SAS/ACCESS documentation for your DBMS.  [cautionend]

Operating Environment Information:   Using external files with your SAS jobs entails significant operating-environment-specific information. Refer to the SAS documentation for your operating environment for more information.  [cautionend]

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